note: entire contents copyright 2000 by Beverly Creasey
Having Fallen in love with "Noises Off" at it's B'way debut, I had begun to despair that no one could duplicate the breackneck farce of that original production. A couple of disastrous attempts in recent years convinced me it couldn't be done -------- until last weekend when I saw Daniel Gidron's Emerson College production at the Majestic theatre.
For anyone who isn't familiar with Michael Frayn's masterpiece, the farce takes place on a stage (both front and back) when a small provincial company labors to mount a modest little comedy. Act I is seen from the audience point of view, Act II repeats Act I but now we see what is going on backstage --- the set having turned around, time having elapsed, and emotions having frayed. Act III is again Act I front-stage, but now all hell has broken loose. Nothing goes as it's supposed to: props are missing, entrances are sabotaged and everyone's nerves are completely shot.
The ecstasy of "Noises Off" (to its fans) is the split-second timing which makes all the gags, slips, takes and near-misses work. The Emerson Stage production had it all down, and each actor added his or her perfect timing to the marvelous mayhem.
The bad news is that "Noises Off" only ran for a week, and if you missed it, you are ten thousand laughs poorer.