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NOISES OFF to be Presented by Northern Kentucky University's Department of Theatre and Dance

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The NKU production is very funny, perfectly-cast, and features fabulous performances on an amazing rotating set.

NOISES OFF to be Presented by Northern Kentucky University's Department of Theatre and Dance

If you have been waiting a year for a good laugh, then go and see NOISES OFF at Northern Kentucky University's Department of Theatre and Dance. This version of the farcical classic provides the audience with a hilarious take on the preparation and execution of a theatrical production. The comedy conveys a dysfunctional cast and crew who come together for the love of live performance and, fortunately for us, they unravel into a series of pratfalls, hilarious lines and well-timed comic bits. The NKU production is very funny, perfectly-cast, and features fabulous performances on an amazing rotating set.

This delicious play-within-a-play imagines Nothing On, a truly bad piece of theatre in three stages. Act 1 is the final and hopeless dress rehearsal. Act 2 is the play seen from backstage weeks later, while Act 3 is near the end of the play's long and tedious run, where relationships between the cast, crew and director have completely unraveled. As the audience watches from the front, and in Act 2 from the back, nine characters move effortlessly around a dazzling set, running up and down stairs, flipping over sofas, weaving throughout each other like a well-choreographed dance, leaving people in the audience smiling from ear to ear.

For the show to succeed, various storylines must be crystal clear to make sense of the relationships, staying within a tight comedic structure that is truthful with crisp, flawless timing. Director Ken Jones has masterfully achieved all this and more. He has invited the audience into the madness right from the beginning with a funny pre-show announcement, comically inappropriate music choices, and comic precision to the staging that borders on genius. Kudos for understanding the complicated world of farce!

Each member of the NKU cast is terrific. Reagan Ruth as Dotty, the beautiful older actress carrying on an affair with a younger man, is a master of anticipating the quick, farcical leaps from passion to panic. Chloe Hedrick is sublimely clueless and perfectly beautiful as Brooke, with her character hilariously balancing between a mechanical actress and ditsy spokesmodel. Trey Finkenstead's gift for physical comedy is on full display as Garry. His performance is broad, but grounded, and from pratfalls to dealing with plates of sardines, he delivers the laughs all night long. Austin Fidler masterfully plays Lloyd Dallas, "Nothing On's" director, commanding his kooky actors and losing control. Kirby Schwarber does a beautiful job, as the graceful and classy Belinda Blair, playing the only character who is fully functional always trying to keep everything together. Liam Sweeney is handsome, dashing and bumbling as Frederick, a hypochondriac who suffers from unfortunate bouts of squeamishness. His fainting spells are epic. Joel Parece is wonderfully confused as the liquor loving Selsdon Mowbray. The sleep deprived stage manager Tim is perfectly played by Hailey Watson, as she/he navigates the demands of a tyrannical on-stage director. Hannah Beaven's Poppy is earnest and sweet, stealing our heart, and succeeding in getting the audience to love her.

NKU's set designer Samantha Reno has created a spectacular NOISES OFF set, complete with two stories, a staircase and nine doors each one with the personality of the character that slams it! And as always, congratulations to an unseen crew who, each performance, must take apart and put back together this scenic puzzle during the show's two intermission breaks. Jo Sanburg beautifully lights the show for simplicity and mood as not to take away from the action on stage. Costume designer Ronnie Chamberlain puts the final touches on these 'out of control' characters. And, I must mention the sound designer, Kevin Havlin, for a few misplaced song choices that made me laugh out loud.

Kudos to NKU for a job well done. Again, if you feel like smiling, then make sure you get to see this one.

NOSIES OFF runs Oct. 14-24, 2021 at the Corbett Theatre on the campus of Northern Kentucky University. Weeknights and Saturdays 7:30pm performances, Sundays 2:00 performances. Tickets can be purchased online: nku.edu/sotatickets or Call: (859) 572-5464.


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