BWW Review: NOISES OFF is a Perfectly on Point Production Full of Laughter at Syracuse Stage
Syracuse Stage's Artistic Director Robert Hupp once again provides local audiences with a perfectly paced, perfectly cast, and the perfect escape from the outside world theatrical experience. His production of Michael Frayn's hilarious farce Noises Off showcases the impeccable comedic skills of veteran actors, a breathtaking and detailed set by John Iacovelli, impressive comedic stunt work coordinated by D. C. Wright, and of course the brilliant writing.
The comedy classic described as "the funniest farce ever written" originally premiered in London's West End in 1982 and then transferred to Broadway. It was made into a feature film and has been performed nonstop in countless regional theaters. The show is set in three acts. In this production, there is a fifteen-minute intermission between Act I and II and a five-minute pause between Act II and Act III. Each Act gives the audience a reason to laugh.
Noises Off is a crazy and over-the-top play about a second-rate acting company preparing for their opening night of a sex farce called "Nothing On." The first Act explores the problematic final rehearsal that drags on into the morning hours. A plate of sardines seems to be wreaking havoc on the production in more ways than one. Act II opens with a view from backstage (John Iacovelli's design is breathtaking from both sides) and this Act brings about hysterical laughter as backstage relationships unravel, various backstage items and props are causing problems, and so much more. Act III once again takes place at the front of the set. The focus is the production of "Nothing On, which goes wrong in every possible way.
The veteran cast has great chemistry, and top notch physical comedic acting skills. There are a lot of physical comedy moments in the show - countless pants dropping, numerous doors to contend with on the set, and more - which require a confident, professional, and comedic group of actors to pull off. This cast does just that.
First, there is Dori Legg as Dotty Otley, the actress that seems to be haunted by the sardines (a prop in "Nothing On") and whether she should set them down or hang up a receiver while portraying the role of Mrs. Clackett in the show. Legg is a hilarious every moment she is onstage. From her facial expressions to the line delivery, her performance is a masterclass in comedic acting. She is a true professional.
Andrew Ramcharan Guilarte portrays the highly sarcastic and frustrated director of "Nothing On," Lloyd Dallas. He has relationships with more than one woman involved in the production. Guilarte's comedic timing is spot on especially as he drops numerous "F-bombs."
Seth Andrew Bridges, a New York City based actor and stuntman, literally throws himself into the role of Garry LeJeune. His stunt work certainly left the audience is disbelief on opening night. Bridges physical acting is perfection.
Eliza Huberth plays Brooke Ashton, the actress portraying Vicki in "Nothing On". She perfectly embodies the airhead actress - one that gets by on her looks and her relationship with the director, certainly not her line delivery, which is robotic. It takes major skills to portray a dim and clueless actress who cannot act and Hurberth displays that skillset very well.
Kate Hamill plays Poppy Norton-Taylor, "Nothing On's " emotional, quirky, and jittery Assistant Stage Manager, with perfect consistency. David Zyla's costume really calls attention to this character's personality traits.
Michael Keyloun's line delivery and believable English accent make him standout as Frederick Fellowes. He makes the role seem effortless even though it is a very demanding and highly physical one (Frederick is an actor afraid of blood and violence and constantly gets nose bleeds). He is a true natural comedic performer.
Gina Daniels plays Belinda Blair, the overly chipper, reliable, actress that likes to gossip. She does so brilliantly. Her performance may not be as over the top as the rest of the cast in the first two acts but, steals the scene in Act III when her character finally breaks down.
Blake Segal plays Tim Allgood, the overworked Stage Manager that must understudy the male roles, fix the set, and run errands for the Director. He steals the scene no matter what busy task he is doing on stage. He is instantly likeable the minute he runs to the stage in Act I.
Brad Bellamy steals the spotlight in small, yet fun role of Selsdon Mowbray, the almost constantly drunk actor. This is especially true in Act II when the actors must constantly chase him down to get a bottle of whiskey away from him. Bellamy is a perfect example of a character actor.
I applaud Director Hupp with his choice to open the 46th season at Syracuse Stage with Noises Off. His goal is "to open a season with a production that has high theatrical appeal." He believes that the time is "especially appropriate for farce" and I couldn't agree more. September is the start of a new school year, new routines, and often new jobs. Some may experience a letdown that the summer season is basically over. Theater is the perfect escape from life and troubles or stresses that often plague people day to date. This perfectly on point farce that helps you leave your troubles behind. Do not miss this perfectly lighthearted and hysterical theatrical escape.
Running time: Two hours and thirty-five minutes with one fifteen-minute intermission after Act I and a five-minute pause after Act II.
Noises Off runs through September 30, 2018 at the Archbold Theater in the Syracuse Stage/SU Drama Complex. For tickets and information on this production and the rest of the 46th season at Syracuse Stage, as well as season subscriptions, click here, call the box office at 315-443-3275, or visit Syracuse Stage at 820 E. Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13210.