Noises Off is a show that defines a genre: the backstage farce. More specifically, it’s an onstage, then backstage, then onstage farce. The inventive plot follows a company from their final dress rehearsal of the farce ‘Nothing On,’ to a performance of their fast-paced comedy early in its run, and then a performance on tour late in the run. The backstage drama is even more riveting than the onstage drama, but seeing the performance from multiple angles provides nearly endless opportunities for comedy.
Well-tuned Cast Pulls “Off” Noises
HE SAID: I’m pretty sure it would take a lot for me to tire of this show. It is so well written and each cast brings their own emphases and highlights different strengths of the piece, but it takes a strong cast to pull it off. This is an ensemble piece in the truest sense and each person needs to bring top notch timing and physical stamina to make the show keep a proper pace. This production largely delivered in both realms.
SHE SAID: I think what amazes me the most about this show is that because the entire plot-line revolves around everything that CAN go wrong during a theatrical production, there is zero tolerance for actual, unscripted mistakes. In that sense, the demanding physicality has to be expertly timed, rehearsed and set, at which point it comes down to the cast’s ability to create the illusion of spontaneity. For the most part, this cast and company did a great job making the story seem fresh and honest, making the audience forget what an incredible technical feat it is.
Local Favorites Shine On and “Off” Stage
HE SAID: The cast is made up of some recognizable area talent, all of whom shine in different moments. There seemed to be a little bit of a slower pace than I expected going into the first act, perhaps because it was the second in a two show day. Remarkably, as the bullet train that is this show picked up steam, so did the performers and the third act for me was by far the funniest.
SHE SAID: I was definitely pleased to see several of my local favorites onstage, and one of the best parts of the show was watching this remarkably even cast interact with one another. I agree with you that the third act was very strong, which is not inevitable, as sometimes the unraveling depicted in the third act loses rather than gains steam. Michael Bouchard as Garry definitely got stronger and stronger as the night went on, ending on a hilariously desperate note. I really enjoyed Evan Marquez’s lovably dim performance throughout, and I enjoyed watching Lauren Bahlman’s performance as Belinda morph from warm and caring to warm and careless throughout the show.
Lone Tree Facility Facilitates Tricky “Noises”
HE SAID: Using the set from the CSF production worked nicely in the space at Lone Tree Arts Center. It’s a wonderfully decorated two story set that is turned around to reveal the backstage area, which is the setting of the second act. Once again, as they did in Boulder, the audience loved watching the entire set spin around on a turntable as we transitioned from Act II to Act III. The costumes were simple but splendid, as was the lighting.
SHE SAID: First of all, this was our first visit to the Lone Tree Arts Center, and the entire facility was incredibly gorgeous. The set served its incredibly specific purpose well. The costume design, while simple, showed attention to character, and most importantly, held up to the incredibly demanding physical requirements of the show. The costumes never got in the way of physical movement, and stayed in tact and in place solidly enough for the actors to focus on the gazillion other things they were doing simultaneously.
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Noises Off Makes for Great Night Out
THEY SAID: Noises Off that is a cult classic for theatre fans that has about a million opportunities for things to go wrong. When done right, its a celebration of and a humorous testament to all of the tiny things that need to fall into place to pull off a successful night at the theater. This talented cast, supported by solid direction and design, send this central message well. If you’re looking for a self-referential night of farcical comedy, look no further than the gorgeous Lone Tree Arts Center.