BWW Review: NOISES OFF at Diamond Head Theatre
It's that time of year. No, not just the time of year when holiday cheer begins to wear off and the anticipation for the warmth of spring to settle in; it's also the time of year when Diamond Head Theatre debuts its once-a-season play. This season, Noises Off makes its debut as a British farce of rampant guffaws and comedic gold. After last year's rather humdrum Calendar Girls, Noises Off is a welcome addition to the theatre's canon of previous hits, notably To Kill a Mockingbird and The Mousetrap. Noises Off is a show with spot-on performances, delightful comedy, and stellar direction.
Noises Off follows the story of an acting troupe and its frazzled director (Kevin Keaveny), trying to pull off one final rehearsal the evening before Opening Night. The thing is, its current state less-than-smooth, with much finessing to be done. Enter Dotty Otley (Ann Brandman), an elderly actress, who just wants to know what to do with and when to carry her ever-so-important plate of sardines, which becomes a prominent and obvious symbol throughout the show. As the rehearsal ensues, more actors-playing-actors appear, in which they do their best to remember their lines and staging, while also trying to avoid the tensions and politics of backstage romances. Soon, Opening Night arrives, with a clear uncertainty of the direction the performance will take: will they pull their acts together---no pun intended---or will they go on stage and be a mess? The aforementioned transpires in act one of the show, in which the audience is exposed to the standard set and production design, but come time for act 2, the set reverses, and the audience then experiences the behind-the-scenes of the show's show. The actors---with a still-frazzled director---manage to all assemble for the Opening Night performance, and, while the audience doesn't anticipate a smooth performance for the actors-played-by-actors, it goes much more awry than anticipated. What ensues from there is a masterpiece of delightful farce.
The most notable and enjoyable aspect of the show is the pacing and precise timing of the staging. Especially in act two, when the audience gets the insight of behind the scenes, every actor is on cue with line delivery and movement. The pace at which the actors move and speak is imaginable as a hot potato being passed from hand to hand, except quicker and smoother. All nine actors feed off of each other's energies and stamina. Each actor holds his or her own, providing comedic depth to each caricature. Within the cast, there are a few DHT staples, such as Garrett Hols with his hallmark idiosyncrasies, Mathias Maas, and Therese Olivial, and they are joined by relative newcomers Rachele Rees, Antoinette Lilley, and Christopher Denton---in addition to others---all of whom shine in their respective parts. Though, while the actors all truly shine in their parts, the play is definitely elevated by the fantastic direction of Rob Duval, as he's previously directed The Fox on the Fairway and The Mousetrap. His vision for the show and what it ultimately hopes to convey to the audience is made incredibly apparent and speaks inestimably through the performances of each actor. Furthermore, while the show will certainly be appreciated for its comedy by many of its viewers, audience members that have experience on the stage will surely appreciate the show, especially the segment of behind the scenes and witnessing how the show progresses and the relationships involved. Overall, the show is a delight.
Speaking from my personal experiences with the theatre, while I tend to be more drawn to and appreciate of its musical productions, I have been consistently impressed by the plays that have been mounted. While I enjoyed The Mousetrap and To Kill a Mockingbird of previous years more, Noises Off is still a worthy addition to the theatre's canon of plays. I have never laughed as much as I have in any show I've seen before. With its dynamic cast and stellar direction, Noises Off is certainly one to make noise for! 808-733-0274.