BWW Review: NOISES OFF Will Make You Laugh Till You Cry!
What has drama, comedy, and romance all in one show? What will make you laugh till tears come streaming out of your eyes? If you guessed NOISES OFF presented by the Arts Club Theatre Company, you definitely would be correct! I had the pleasure of seeing the show last week and I can honestly say it was one of the best productions I've seen from the Arts Club so far! Playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre in Vancouver from January 23rd to February 23rd, NOISES OFF is definitely worth the money to see!
Written by Michael Frayn and directed by Scott Bellis, NOISES OFF was put together very well. It was full of surprises and comedic moments that caught you off guard and left you laughing uncontrollably out loud. At first, it might be hard to pick up what's happening on stage due to the fast pace of the show. Once you become more cognizant of the plotline, it's easier to pick up on the humor and drama that ensues among the deep-rooted characters. Essentially, NOISES OFF is a play about the production of a play. The play begins with the dress rehearsal and ends with a performance of the play many months later. What I thought was really creative about the show was that after Act II, they turned the stage around and did the play again; however, you got to see what was happening behind the scenes instead of on stage. The dialogue of the play acted as background noise and silent acting amongst the cast members behind the scenes acted as the main focus on stage.
The bread and butter of this production was the set designed by Ted Roberts. At first glance, you are met with a set resembling an old house as you enter the theatre. There are many wooden doors that stretch across the stage as well as small dated props that litter the nooks and crannies of the set. To someone who has never seen the show before, these props don't mean much before the show starts. As the show progresses you learn that every prop and door is strategically placed on stage for a reason and has more meaning than you think throughout the show. In Act 2, the set gets more complex as it gets reversed to reveal a whole new dimension of set pieces to the audience. As NOISES OFF relies on the timing of movements and lines from the actors, the set perfectly complimented these actions.
This show really did a good job of keeping you motivated to continue watching. Compared to other shows that may lack luster part way through, this show keeps the audience captivated for it's entirety. This would not have been made possible without the tremendous cast involved in this production. Starring Tess Degenstein (Brooke), Charlie Gallant (Garry), Ming Hudson (Poppy), Andy Maton (Selsdon), Nora McLellan (Tim), Andrew McNee (Lloyd), Emma Slipp (Belinda), Jovanni Sy (Frederick), and Colleen Winton (Dotty), this cast had excellent chemistry with one another. From the romances to the rivals, this cast played off of each others acting very well that it made the production and comedy of this show flow smoothly. Charlie Gallant was the first actor to impress me as he switched back and forth between accents throughout the play flawlessly. Tess Degenstein was very committed to her character. During moments where she wasn't speaking in the show, she would look into the audience with a blank stare that contributed to her character perfectly. Jovanni Sy had me laughing like crazy with his dominating stage presence and "nose-bleed" bit in the show. Lastly, Nora McLellan as Dotty gave my favorite performance of the show. Her character grows throughout the show and her comedy lends itself in a way that makes Act 2 even better than Act 1!
NOISES OFF kept me motivated to watch the entire show. It was extremely funny and is a great show to lift your spirits when you are down. Definitely try to make it down to the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre before the show closes on February 23!
NOISES OFF is currently playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage in Vancouver till February 23rd, 2020. Tickets start at $39 an are available at https://secure.artsclub.com/events/detail/noises-off or by calling the box office at 604-687-1644.
Photo Credit: David Cooper, 2020