The Contemporary Theater Company's summer show is "Noises Off", a 1982 farce by Michael Frayn. The theatrical definition of "noises off" specifies sounds that are heard off-stage. Frayn plays on the concept of a a play within a play, in this case a play entitled "Nothing On" in which a young girl runs around in her underwear, men drop trousers, and many doors continually open and shut. Each of the three acts of "Noise Off" contains the first act of the play within a play. The first act deals with the final dress rehearsal, the second is one month later at a Wednesday matinee and takes place back stage while the third act is a performance near the end of their ten week run. Much of the comedy emerges from the subtle variations as the off stage chaos affects the on stage performances. The slapstick in the latter two acts is hilarious and is where the strength of this script lies. Director Christopher Simpson casts the nine best performers for each of these roles and infuses the farcical elements needed to leave the audience in stitches.
The marvelous set by Chris and Terry Cashman adds to the merriment of the show as the audience sees the show from various areas of the stage. Chris' cast has fantastic timing and he supplies them with excellent shtick to perform. The set is changed at the two intermissions so the audience can observe the changes of the playing area.Terry Shea plays Lloyd, the womanizing director. He chastises the performers at their missed lines and cues during the first act but it is in the second and third act that he really shines in this role. Lloyd's shenanigans with Poppy and Brooke with the mix ups with the flowers and the bottle of whiskey being given to the wrong girl at the wrong time. Terry commands the stage as this authority figure. Michelle Mania does a terrific job as the absent minded Dotty who has trouble remembering her lines, her entrances and her props in Act 1. She is secretly in love with her fellow actor, Garry who is wonderfully played by Witt Tarantino. Witt as Garry is very agile running up and down the stairs and executes a wonderful pratfall down the stairs. Their constant arguments in Act 2 are hilarious especially all the sexual positions he finds Dotty in with their fellow actors. The brunette sexpot, Brooke is wonderfully played by Rebecca Magnotta who runs around in a bustiere during most of the show. Brooke keeps losing her contact lens but she is especially funny in Act 3 when she keeps saying the right lines when she is given the wrong cues.
The married couple Freddie and Belinda who are tax evaders in "Nothing's On" are excellently played by Jim Foley and Amelia Giles. Freddie keeps getting nose bleeds while Belinda keeps trying to cover up for the other performers errors in the last act. He plays the spaceshot character wonderfully while Belinda is a big mouth revealing everyone's hidden secrets.Terry Simpson is a hoot as Selsdon, the elderly man who is heard of hearing and who is a lush. His drunken antics are priceless and when he breaks the window and enters at the wrong time are laugh out loud moments. Jim Bucci is Tim, the techie who complains about catching up on his sleep in the first act and is the understudy who gets to go on as different characters in the last act. He does a wonderful job in this role especially when he storms off to continually buy flowers for Lloyd. Last but not least is Maggie Papa as Poppy, the stage manager who is secretly in love with Lloyd, has an affair with him and blurts out she is expecting his baby in the botched up matinee performance. This is a laugh out loud moment. So for an hysterical madcap evening of hilarity, be sure to catch "Noises Off" at The Contemporary Theater Company. Chris and his cast's expertise are rewarded with loud laughter and a well deserved standing ovation. Bravo!