Noises Off: Laughs On

Nine absolutely hilarious performers. Zero people of color. Nonprofit theater at its finest. I’ll leave my cynicism at the door now.

I didn’t know much about Noises Off upon entering the theater, and had my doubts when I realized it was a three-act farce. But it’s one the funniest plays I’ve ever seen and each and every actor was hilarious. What start as a relatively simple concept, a behind the scenes at a terrible play, turns into a rip-roarious, laugh-packed, sharp and somehow witty play. Act I is a look at a terrible dress rehearsal for the show-within-the-show gone horribly wrong. The show Nothing On is in fact horrendous, and each actor is going through their own problems. In what could be banal and repetitive, Act II and III follow the action as the show tours around the country. Act II moves the backstage area to the forefront, and the audience gets to see the madness that is happening backstage as the actors unravel due to various personal issues and misunderstandings (what else?). Act III brings the stage back to the front, where everything that can go wrong does. Despite having the same lines and following the plot of Nothing On as closely as the actors can while improvising through various mishaps, every act elevates the material in zany disasters, and somehow the farce gets funnier and funnier.

Each actor was amazing, and it’s a shame that they’re all so strong and will probably cancel each other out come Awards Season. If I had to make a guess, it seems that Andrea Martin is a Tony darling (though she was great in Pippin, I still don’t understand how she was nominated over Rachel Bay Jones, who did a whole lot more in the show. That’s acrobatics for you, friend) so I can see her squeaking out a nomination. Or Megan Hilty, who greatly elevates the trite”dumb blonde” to new heights and really adds depth to the stereotypical “bad actor.”

I’ve probably never laughed so much in a theater, and don’t expect to have my stomach ache from any other show this year. Go see it while you still have a chance!

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