BWW Reviews: The Rep's Incredibly Funny Production of NOISES OFF
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis closes another wonderful season with playwright Michael Frayn's hilarious farce within a farce, Noises Off. Frayn's work is just downright funny, but it's especially amusing to anyone who's ever taken part in a stage production sometime in their life. The Rep's presentation is excellent, with a talented cast that seems to be having a blast playing this material. It's a marvelous way to bring the season to an end, and it's a must-see production.
For the first act, the audience is witness to the calamity plagued proceedings of a crazed cast attempting to run through a dress rehearsal of a perfectly dreadful play called "Nothing On". It's filled with slapstick antics and screwball fun, but the real treat is when the second act begins and the audience is witness to the backstage mayhem that occurs during a matinee. The final act takes the audience back out front for a performance two months later. The cast has now become completely unhinged, and the results filled the theatre with gales of laughter.
Dale Hodges is wickedly funny in the role of Dotty, and comes close to stealing the show any number of times. However, the rest of the actors are equally up to task. Fletcher McTaggert imbues the role of frustrated and oversexed director Lloyd Dallas with a snarky sensibility. John Scherer is not afraid to take a tumble, and brings considerable energy to his part as the ever-vague Gary. Victoria Adams-Zischke plays gossipy Belinda Blair with a certain grace under pressure, and Andy Prosky is good as ineffectual "nose bleeder", Freddie. Ruth Pferdehirt makes an impression as the frequently undressed ingenue Brooke, and Rebeca Miller gets her fair share of laughs as the beleaguered stage manager, Poppy. Joneal Joplin brings a splendid sort of whiskey-soaked charm to his role as Selsdon.
Edward Stern directs with just the right comic touch to take full advantage of the play's many charms. James Wolk's fabulous inside-out scenic design works perfectly, and it's all nicely lit by Peter Sargent. In addition, Elizabeth Covey's costumes work very well to delineate each character.
Don't miss the Rep's gut-busting production of Noises Off, it's truly a delight! Noises Off plays through April 13, 2014 on the Mainstage of the Loretto-Hilton.