REVIEW: Laughs Are in Boundless Supply in ‘Noises Off’ at Centre Stage

Photo by Escobar Photography

BY SANDY STAGGS
DRAMA CRITIC

Anyone who experienced the exhilarating, jaw-dropping antics in “The Play That Goes Wrong,” this season’s touring Broadway play at the Peace Center, knows that masterful hilarity was inspired by “Noises Off,” Michael Frayn’s classic farce now playing through May 26 at Centre Stage, from the bad play-within-the-play to the playbill-within-the-playbill for the bad play-within-the-play.

Considered by many as the funniest play ever, “Noises Off” is also an actor’s dream and incredibly relatable to the theatre-inclined because as a great woman in Spartanburg (Beverly as in The Bev Volunteer of the Year award) once said: “The real drama in theatre happens backstage.”

And boy does everything and anything happen in “Noises Off” from sardines to alcohol over- imbibing, slamming doors and faulty doors, flubbed lines and entrances, affairs, and diva fits,  as a director and his cast and crew go on the road with the comedy “Nothing On.”

This play has two intermissions and three acts, but they become more compelling, chaotic and outlandish as they progress…and faster. And there is a valid reason for the breaks – the second act the entire two-story is flipped around for a backstage perspective as the same scenes play out over and over from different vantage point and in different cities along their tour.

This absolute dream cast of pros are at the top of their game in the voices, slapstick skills, and committed characterizations: Kevin Treu as the mostly steadfast Lloyd Dallas/Director; Amy Dunlap as the hapless memory-deprived Dotty Otley/Mrs. Clackett; Daniel Marlatt in a very physical and comedic role as the male star Gerry Lejeune/Roger; the impeccable Caroline Davis in a squeaky nasally voice and curvy costumes as the Brook Ashton/Vicki;  the always-divine Jon Kilpatrick Frederick Fellowes/Phillip; an unrecognizable Kerrie Seymour as Belinda Blair and a splendid drawn-out dialect and voice that evokes Mrs. Slocombe  of “Are You Being Served?”;Trev Furlong as the alcoholic Selsdon Mowbray/Burglar; Sara Tolson as the stage manager  Poppy Norton-Taylor; and Ben Nicholas as assistant stage manager Tim Allgood.

Hair and make-up by is by Victor DeLeon, costumes are by Tiffany Nave, and Valerie Saporito is stage manager with Moose Davis as ASM.

Tickets for Noises Off are $30, $27, and $15. Student rush tickets are available with school ID (based on availability), one ticket per ID. Ticketing fees are applied to ALL purchases. Call the box office at (864) 233-6733, or online at www.centrestage.org. Handling fees will be applied to all purchases.

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