BWW Review: NOISES OFF! at Mesa Community College
Sardines, doors, boxes, and bags. These items make several appearances throughout the show, but Noises Off! is really about the pain and agony that goes into putting on a production. Relationships are strained, frustrations are frequent, but at the end of the day, the show must go on.
It is always fun to see a show within a show, especially the backstage antics the occur during the second act. Noises Off! is full of physical humor that adds to the comedy of the production. At just over three hours, this production is not for the faint of heart, but there is no shortage of laugh out loud moments.
As Dotty Otley, Kayleah Wilson, is funny, endearing, exasperated, confused, and clever. Dotty is clearly absent-minded and Wilson manages these moments with ease. Dotty is easy to like and sympathize with; not just as an actor, but as a woman trying to navigate relationships. Wilson is fantastic.
The assistant stage manager has a very hard job. Throw a confusing personal relationship into the mix and it's even more difficult. Poppy is dealing with the short end of the stick, but still manages to keep the show going. Rebecca Nation is energetic and fun to watch as Poppy. She leans into the youthful ignorance of the character which adds another layer of complexity.
Seamus McSherry plays the director, Lloyd Dallas, who has entangled himself with more women than he can handle. Dallas is impatient, demanding, and sly. McSherry has a booming voice which he uses to shout orders to the cast and display his distaste for those who do not follow his direction. McSherry uses the entire theater to his advantage and handles the physical comedy with ease.
As Garry Lejeune, Ian Nussle, is poised and professional, except when it comes to his relationship with Dotty. Nussle has the most physically demanding role and he handles it with precision and expertise. It is impressive to see Nussle bouncing about the stage, mostly using his body language to express the emotion the character is feeling. Nussle is a natural with physical comedy and is perfectly cast in this role.
Ezra Storment plays the clueless Freddie on and off stage. Storment has excellent comedic timing. He is not afraid to play for laughs and has added several flourishes to jokes that could have fallen flat. In that vein, the character of Salston could have been a throwaway character, only included to provide empty laughs, but Zackary Diepstraten fleshes out the character with depth and sincerity. His comedic timing is impeccable, adding to the frenzy perfectly. Nicholas Magel plays the Stage Manager, Tim Allgood. He realizes the show is not good, but does what he is told. Magel is expressive and animated. He plays the character with a knowing grin - Allgood knows a paycheck is a paycheck.
Brooke is pretty and vapid. Played by Jazmyne Plantillas, Brooke powers through her lines, regardless of what is happening around her. She has no problem prancing around the stage in her skivvies and threatens to quit at the slightest inconvenience. Plantillas handles the role well and blends humor with physicality comfortably. Belinda Blair is entrenched in the lives of her cast mates. She is a gossip and clearly loves drama, but makes the best of a bad situation. Played by Jessica Wozniak with a matronly air, Belinda is the final piece of the zany puzzle that is Noises Off!
The set is incredible. It is quite large which is why there are two fifteen-minute intermissions. There is some adult language, but it adds to the humor of the show. The cast uses the whole auditorium which brings the audience straight into the action. Directed by James Rio, Noises Off! runs through April 27 at Mesa Community College. Tickets can be purchased here.
Photo credit: Alexandria Chavez