Backstage Review: ‘Noises Off’ at At Good Luck Macbeth

By Michael Frayn

Review by Norm Robins

Photography by Zen Media

To understand Noises Off it helps to know Murphy’s Law and O’Toole’s Commentary on Murphy’s Law aka O’Toole’s Corollary. Murphy’s Law says if anything can go wrong, it will. O’Toole’s Corollary says Murphy was an optimist. And if the purpose of theater is to hold a mirror up to ourselves so we can see clearly who and what we are then Noises Off tells us we are all doomed.

Noises Off is not just a madcap play within a madcap play, it is a madcap farce within a madcap farce. Poor Director Lloyd is trying to manage a cast that will travel on the road with opening day tomorrow. After a road tour the play will soon open on Broadway. And what a loopy cast it is! Lines are dropped. Cues are missed. Doors won’t open. Doors won’t close. Door handles come off in the actor’s hand. A plate of sardines is in the wrong place. It takes a superhuman effort to get the damned thing in the right place. There are more plates of sardines than the script calls for except when there are no plates of sardines at all when the script calls for one. An answered phone keeps ringing after the phone call is taken. The audience is told three or four times the play will begin in two minutes except afterward when they are told the play will start in three minutes. There are psychological meltdowns, too many female hands grabbing too many bunches of flowers, and a bottle of whiskey that takes on a life of its own. There are three times as many burglars as the script calls for, all dressed the same, and all making their entrances at the same time. Not to worry. They all recover from the shock and perform as a burglar threesome. Even the lighting all by itself onstage with no actors present is hysterical. Directing this cast is like trying to herd cats. It’s like trying to round up rattlesnakes. It’s all that Lloyd can do to retain his sanity such as it is with this group of zanies.

This is the funniest play you probably have ever seen and probably ever will see. The cast to a person is perfect. It takes perfection not to mention prodigious hard work to pull off three hours of machine-gun fire foibles, sight gags, pratfalls, and psychological crises. There is no letup in the sidesplitting humor. There are no stars. Every cast member is a star.

I am very impressed with the quality of performance that GLM has brought to the stage in “Noises Off.” My hats off to the entire cast!
Go see this play, and you will laugh till it hurts!

Dana Nollsch

This play is in three acts. Act one takes place in a home in Britain where Lloyd is trying to bring the play within a play through rehearsal. During the first intermission and in preparation for act two both crew and some of the actors disassemble the large set and turn it around so the action is now backstage. In act two the play within a play is in performance. Here we see the players backstage trying to put on the play within a play onstage behind the set. For act three during the second intermission the stage crew and some of the actors disassemble the set once again, turn it around to face the audience, and the action now takes place onstage. Act three takes place on Broadway.

A tip of the hat to cast and crew. The run time of this play is three hours, and for three hours the farce comes at you at warp speed and unrelentingly. Entrances and exits are made every few seconds, again unrelentingly. The constant slamming of doors has a musicality about it that would make a symphony conductor envious. It takes yeoman’s work to perfectly execute the play’s boundless imperfections. The professionalism by one and all pulling it off takes your breath away. Anyone who misses this play misses one of our best and most delightful.

Noises Off will be performed at Good Luck Macbeth, 124 W. Taylor St., Reno, March 6 through April 4, 2000. For more information go to www.goodluckmacbeth or call 775-322-3716.

CAST

Dotty Otley………………………….Kathy Welch

Lloyd Dallas…………………………Joe Atack

Garry Lejeune………………………Ian Sorensen

Brooke Ashton……………………..Lauren Shaw

Poppy Norton-Taylor………………Jamie Woodham

Frederick Fellowes…………………Ryan Costello

Belinda Blair………………………..Ashley James

Tim Allgood…………………………Ryan Kelly

Selsdon Mowbray………………….Jasper Unger

Director………………………………Dave Richards

Stage Manager……………………..Cody Hamilton

One thought on “Backstage Review: ‘Noises Off’ at At Good Luck Macbeth

  • March 6, 2020 at 2:02 pm
    Permalink

    The show takes place in England only, they never travel to Broadway.

    Reply

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