Review: NOISES OFF at Bucks County Playhouse

Marilu Henner leads Starry Cast Directed by Hunter Foster

By: Jun. 04, 2024
Review: NOISES OFF at Bucks County Playhouse
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If you want to catch a serious - or in this case, completely unserious- Broadway performance around Philly, the city theatres aren't the answer. As it has been since the late 1930s, the Broadway actors and shows are at Bucks County Playhouse. In this case it's Michael Frayn's hilarious NOISES OFF, which critic Frank Rich notably called the funniest farce written in his lifetime. (This writer agrees, save that THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG came along a few decades later. That may be the one that could top NOISES OFF.) At BCP we have the pleasure of seeing it directed by Hunter Foster -yes, that Hunter Foster, star of URINETOWN and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, big brother of Sutton Foster - with a hand that shows that yes, this director's known all these characters or ones just like them, in real life. 

This NOISES OFF is a comic feast for the soul, full of hilarity, chaos, and utter disaster... not to mention sardines  We hope you like sardines  Of course you like - rather, you love - Marilu Henner, a fact required by law.  She's playing the charming actress Belinda, as close to a den mother for the rest of a mediocre acting troupe rehearsing a play as anyone could be - yet she's got a bite if you don't watch out.  Richard Kline, Larry Dallas from THREE'S COMPANY, also graces the stage.  He plays Selsdon, an older and alcoholic actor who can find the one bottle of gin in a dry county.  But they're only two of a misbegotten crew of English actors, a director, and a stage crew having the worst dress rehearsal in the history of theatre.  Even that might not be so bad if opening night goes well; there's a tradition that bad dress rehearsal means great opening night.  But no tradition always holds, does it?

As with any great farce there are multiple entrances and exits - here not only onto the BCP stage, but also on the set of the unfortunate play NOTHING ON.  The set, while it may not be set for the disastrous hijinks of THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, certainly allows for a crew of disorderly, ill-prepared, and drunk performers to trip, slide, topple, land on each other... and to collide with repeated plates of grilled sardines.

There's not a funnier time in the Philly region to be had than to catch up with this production.  Foster has gotten the best possible work from an excellent cast including Jennifer Cody of URINETOWN, and John Patrick Hayden.

If you don't have plans, come see this show.  If you do have plans, cancel them.  These are the laughs you're looking for.  Visit BCP theatre.org for tickets and information.




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