Pandemonium Strikes in ‘Noises Off’

noises off

The Broadway revival of Noises Off is hysterical. It is a classic show within a show construct that just works. In fact, there is a faux Playbill for Nothing On in the real Noises Off Playbill. In Act 1, the cast of Nothing On has just started their rehearsals, and the audience is allowed to see them stumble their way through the process. Do you carry the sardines off stage with you or leave them on the table to be found by another actor? Do you leave the newspaper or take the newspaper? Later, in Act 2, the set is turned around so that we are now watching the show from backstage, and scenes are even more absurd from that angle because we now realize when something does not go right. And, of course, the scenes never go right. Nothing On is an awful show with a bungling cast, but Noises Off is terrific.

Roundabout Theatre has assembled a phenomenal cast. Each actor is a standout on their own merits. As an ensemble, the cast was fantastic and played off of each other brilliantly. In fact, they played off the set brilliantly as well. That’s right, the set is almost a character itself and acts as a playground for the characters. The set opens into a large living room of a mansion with a staircase going to the second floor landing. There are many, many doors from the living room and second floor landing, so the characters constantly miss each other as they come and go through the doors. One door or another is constantly in motion, and the timing of the entrances, exits, and door slams was tight. Even though the cast was playing characters who were muddling through rehearsals, the actual cast was sheer perfection in their timing and nuances.

Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Pippin) is brilliant. She leads the cast as the befuddled maid who cannot remember her sardines. Martin does remember to expertly change her English accent between her maid character in Nothing On and Dotty the actress. Her subtle actions reflect the talent that Martin brings to every role. Megan Hilty (Smash, Annie Get Your Gun) is hilarious as the buxom, silly Brooke. She commits to the role wholeheartedly and is still entertaining even when she is not the center of attention. Your eye is drawn back to Hilty in every scene. It goes without saying that this is Hilty’s year to get a Tony nomination. Rob McClure’s (Chaplin, Honeymoon in Vegas) behind-the-scenes character also deserves some of the spotlight. As Tim, he is charming and nails the humor dead on. It’s a little like Goldilocks in that McClure nails the level of his humor as just right. Finally, David Furr (Cymbeline, As You Like It) is as physically skillful as his character is unintelligible.

All of these actors give a top-tier performance that in turn gives the audience a great night of theatre.

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