Noises Off: Loud and On
If you are feeling the blues and winter got you down, I would strongly propose that you go see the astounding play Noises Off playing now at the Segal Center. This play is sure to make you feel better about yourself and encourage you to go on and never give up on your dreams.
The story starts with the character of Dotty (played by Martha Burns) an actress trying to remember her lines as she and her ensemble are going through their very last rehearsal a few hours before their grand opening. This play within a play shows us how an aspiring director with big dreams tries to put on a show with a helpless group of actors who keep slamming doors, fighting one another, losing their contact lenses, having nose bleeds, fainting, falling in love, having nervous breakdowns, drinking and much more! Throughout their journey we follow how those very distinctive characters try to save their play but end up failing while creating insanely funny situations. We get to see the cast attempting to get their show together three times: first as a rehearsal, secondly from the backstage perspective and finally as a total mess. This gradation was perfectly done and the response from the public loud and wild.
The director of the play, Jacob Tierney, did a wonderful job with his cast of actors. The lines and actions were driven throughout the play and every line was delivered with great intention. The ensemble was incredible at listening to one another, and it allowed the creation of great moments of comedy and farce onstage. The fluidity with which the actions happened was great and the physicality of each character was amazing. I would like to point out the flawlessness of the physical choreography that took place as the actors were performing their play (for the second time) backstage through the use of a rotating stage. We were able to plunge into what an actor’s journey looks like from the wing. The silliness, the fighting, the crying and the reconciling were truly well interpreted.
All the jokes presented both physically and in the text were so well served that the whole audience couldn’t stop laughing. The public was craving and waiting for the next line of each and every actor. The whole cast did a wonderful job and each member had very special attributes that made them lovable.
The play was really representative of what putting on a show is all about. We saw the actors, the director, the assistant manager and even the technicians struggling. We were participating in both the magical and the awful of what it means to work in theater and it was presented in a well-done, humorous way.
To make the experience surreal, Lloyd Dallas, the director as interpreted by David Julian Hirsh, was walking about the actual theater between the seats and yelling indications to his actors onstage who were struggling with their lines. Moreover, we could see on the side of the stage Poppy Norton-Taylor, played by Kaitlyn Riordan, following the whole action with a big book and going on onstage as a real and helpful stage manager would. She ran to help every time her name was yelled out.
I strongly recommend this play for anyone who is looking to have a good time. This comedy is truly well done, the cast is amazing and you are especially guaranteed to have a good time if you are an actor yourself. You’ll be laughing out loud from beginning to end!
Playing at the Segal Centre of Performing Arts (5170 chemin de la Côte Sainte-Catherine, Montreal) from January 29th to February 19th, Monday Night talkbacks with the actors February 6 and 13, Tickets: 514.739.7944