Arts & Culture

Review: Noises Off

If you’re itching for a laugh this mid-march, look no further than the Pit. With sidesplitting, break-neck energy and perfect pace, the KTS’s Noises Off is bang on!
Noises Off by Michael Frayn is, as director Chloé Hung alludes to in her note, a balance of brilliance and insanity. A play within a play, it follows a handful of thespians whose intermingled relationships slowly turn their mediocre farce into a train wreck. As the play and characters alike slowly unravel, the action shifts from on stage to back stage, and then back on stage. To hilarious effect.
The play got off to a slow start for a small, but appreciative audience Thursday night. The energy seemed low and the actors struggled with their pompous British accents. Whether this was a creative choice or simply an oversight was unclear. If it was a choice, my confusion might suggest that it wasn’t successful. It would have been nice to see the actors commit to the play within a play with the same intensity that they brought to their ‘actor’ characters. Instead, it seemed that they were playing bad actors— a difficult thing that they didn’t quite pull off.
But it didn’t take long for the play to get its feet, and then, wow did the hit the ground running. The entire cast redeemed themselves with their commitment to their ‘actor’ roles. Anyone who has worked in theatre before will recognize the characters that these actors bring to life with an almost uncanny accuracy. Jackson Byrne (Garry (Roger)) and Rebecca Best (Brooke (Vicki)) nailed their stock lines with great skill, managing to make these ridiculous characters completely believable, and in turn, hilarious. All the actors deserve great praise. From Tom Brosky’s (Lloyd) fuck-you smile, to Michael Beedie’s (Freddie (Phillip)) lovable straight man-esq idiocracy, the cast carried this show to its crashing finale.
This was never more apparent than in the second act of the show. An (almost) entirely pantomimed act, where timing is of the essence, would be daunting for most directors. But this high energy and carefully choreographed act is pulled off to a tee. Hung uses every inch of the stage, getting the timing and pacing perfect, while simultaneously making the most of a brilliantly crafted set. Not an easy feat. Kudos to the set designers (Betty Chee, Hung, Zander Brosky and Elizabeth Wilson) for a beautiful, yet seemingly simple and elegant set.
It’s a good thing that Noises Off has second week of shows. More than any other show at KTS this season, is this is one to see again.

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

Leave a Reply