Noises Off at Curtain CallNoises off by Michael Frayn received a 4 of 5 stars rating, and a rave review from Alexa Chipman. Author of YA books, theatre critic, travel writer, and resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Noises Off is a hysterical story about a theater troupe’s misadventures. As actors in this play-within-a-play rehearse, forgotten lines, dropped trousers and lost plates of sardines create onstage pandemonium. Meanwhile, it is total chaos backstage as love triangles, petty bickering and ruined affairs lead to pratfalls, flying props and more than one bloody nose. In the end, at the frenetic final performance, everything merges into one perfectly ravaged and wholly uproarious theatrical nervous breakdown.

In rehearsal for a flimsy, trope heavy farce, with actors ready to walk on the project, Noises Off is an attempt to put on the play within a play Nothing On. What begins as slight technical glitches and the occasional missed line becomes a disaster by the final act, with axe wielding actors, incorrect cast members on stage during crucial scenes, and sardines everywhere.

Directing this barely contained mayhem is Avi Lind, who stages humorous tableaux, particularly in the second act, when Michael Tabib and Jake Hamlin’s set design shifts into a backstage setting. What is amusing to the audience is doubly so for those of us who have participated in productions where similar fiascos occurred. Nadja Masura’s haunted, stressed expression upon realizing the rest of the cast has no idea what to say, and she must take up the torch to keep the play moving is all too familiar.

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