Monday, November 25, 2013

Noises Off, Actors On

Noises Off cover This weekend turned out to be quite the theater weekend for little old me.  On Friday, my good friend, The Great Ecclestone, invited me to join him at The Milwaukee Rep’s opening night of Noises Off.

If you’re looking for a fun and easy-going show that will fill your evening with enjoyment, take your mind away from your problems and leave you giggling, Noises Off  isn’t a bad way to spend your time.  If you know an actor, take one with you.

Noises Off is a British farce written in the early 1980s.  It’s about a touring theater crew and their adventures.  Or a bit more accurately, a small, low-budget touring crew and their mishaps.  Scene one sees them doing their final rehearsal midnight before opening night.  Scene two gives us a backstage view to happenings mid-way through the tour, and scene three gives us an audience’s perspective of the end of their tour and their sanity.

It was cute.  I’ll start there.  It was very cute.  One character, Brooke, played by Kellley Faulkner, has the most adorable bustier set and purple shoes. 

It was also quite funny though I got the impression that is much, much funnier if you’re actually in the theater.  Sitting between two actors, I found myself glancing back and forth between them wondering why they were laughing at many instances.  And some of the intended humor – like when a character is seeing walking across a back platform across many doors that are supposed to go to different rooms – just wasn’t funny to me.  Also, the cast of the production, backstage, warming up to go on by flinging their limbs all over the place, also not funny to non-theater folks.  It reminded me of that Big Bang episode where Penny tries to teach Sheldon to act.  But I suppose it’s good that actors can laugh at themselves, even if no one else is laughing with them.

The cast is phenomenal.  My favorite was Lloyd, played by Joe Dempsey.  He had two very distinct UK accents, one for when he was in his character-character and for his actor-character.  That was delightful.  I was especially impressed with the actors’ ability to make carefully scripted and rehearsed bits look like improv.

Costuming – I already mentioned those fabulous shoes, and set were well done.  I actually found myself forgetting that the same set had simply rotated around.  And I wasn’t distracted by the costuming – aside from wanting those shoes – like I have been in other productions.

Noises Off is running at the Rep until December 22nd in the Quadracci Powerhouse theater.  Tickets and more information here.

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