|The comedy Noises Off is now at the Walnut Street Theatre
posted by Ralph Malachowski on Apr 5, 2018 10:30am | comments
Michael Frayn’s celebrated screwball comedy Noises Off is now playing at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia until April 29. Since it was first performed in 1982, Noises Off has proven to be a success with audiences from London to Broadway. The Walnut’s production of the play is first-rate, with a starry cast, so don’t miss it.
The plot of Noises Off centers about a group of actors who have lots of issues. There are three acts where we first meet the cast struggling with their entrances and exits the day before opening night of a not very good play, followed by a shaky performance on tour, and, finally, the disintegration of all standards at the end of a tour. Slapstick humor, obvious, even sophomoric jokes abound, a scantily-clad ingénue, doors sticking and slamming, and a troublesome cactus all provide hilarious situations of unbridled silliness.
Over the years, Noises Off has attracted starry actors such as Patricia Routledge, Dorothy Loudon, Lynn Redgrave, Faith Prince, Rob McClure, Peter Gallagher, and Patti LuPone, among many others. The Walnut Street Theatre has assembled no less a starry cast with Philadelphia’s answer to Irene Worth and Patti LuPone, Mary Martello, Greg Wood, Ben Dibble, John P. Connolly, Leonard C. Haas, Alanna J. Smith, Lauren Sowa, Susan Riley Stevens, and Daniel Fredrick directed with flair by Frank Anzalone. Philadelphia audiences are once again treated to seeing both Daniel Fredrick and Mary Martello together again. Can we see them both in Tennessee Williams? Discuss.
According to one member of the audience, Noises Off was loudly announced about 20 minutes into the show as “Tedious drive!” as both he and his female companion stalked out. Others witnessed the slow building of the plot in Act 1 which began with much wordiness into what became in Act 2 a mostly silent show full of improbable situations and outlandish slapstick farce. We were backstage during a performance and no “Noises Off” (which term is defined as distracting or obtrusive background noises) were allowed to spoil the performance onstage. The Third Act and final performance within the play was totally surreal, as players fell, were replaced, yet kept arriving, while props had lives of their own.
Noises Off is the perfect, happy antidote to an increasingly menacing and mendacious world. See Noises Off and enjoy laughing for a few hours.
For information and to buy tickets to Noises Off, phone 215-574-3550, or visit www.walnutstreettheatre.org . Next on the main stage will be Mamma Mia!, May 15 through July 15. Independence Studio 3 will present Tell Me on a Sunday, April 10-June 10.