Klein Theatre brings the audience behind the scenes with “Noises Off”
By JOSEPH GARAY
The University of Mary Washington’s Klein Theatre kicked off their fall season on Sept. 24, with their rendition of Michael Frayn’s 1982 comedy “Noises Off.”
As the audience took their seats in Klein Theatre, the air was humming with conversation. Many theatre goers kept glancing up at the brightly lit stage, not sure what to expect and greatly anticipating the promised hilarity.
The advertisement for “Noises Off” on the Klein Theatre website, as well as strategically placed postcards across campus, describe the play aptly: “As the actors in a Mercurial British theatre company rehearse their opening night performance of the adult comedy, ’Nothing On,’ doors slam one after the other, sardines fly through the air, and hilarious mayhem ensues!” Amusingly, sardines did fly.
The first act was comical, with several funny moments as the actors in this play-within-a-play missed their cues, forgot their props and lost their contact lenses.
Dotty Otley, played by senior theatre major Jessica Lane, claimed most of the comedy in the show, but was far more interesting in her interaction with the audience.
“I loved how [the play] engaged the audience in the first act,” said Oceana Peemoeller, senior English major, “with the director being in the audience. It made it that much more real and interactive and destroyed the fourth wall that is typically up between the audience and the performance,” said senior English Major Oceana Peemoeller.
Sardines sailed through the front and back stages as the second act commenced. While romances threatened to, and successfully, ruin the production.
The second act showcased superb acting, in particular, as Jake Crowley, who portrayed Gary Lejeune, Alex Newton as Selsdon Mowbray and Margaret Lewis, Belinda Blair. With the help of their fellow actors, they were able to effectively create a sense of chaos which came together to form a hilariously ill-fated production.
Collen Keifer, senior anthropology major, said “My favorite part was third act of the play when everything just started to fall apart.”
Though the performances were not the only outstanding aspect of the play, the set also contributed greatly to its success.
Designed by Julie Hodge, the set is equally as impressive as the actors’ performance. Particularly in Act 2, the backstage set does a great job, giving the audience a small window to watch as the fake play goes on, while the chaotic scenes backstage unfold, in pantomimed motions.
“The set was extensive. I loved the fish theme furniture to go with the on-going bit with the sardines,” Peemoeller said.
What the audience can take away from “Noises Off” is that what goes on off stage is sometimes far funnier than what is happening on stage. With two and a half hours of laughter, this is a memorable production that worth seeing.
UMW Theatre’s rendition of “Noises off,” directed by Gregg Stull, opened on Thursday Sept. 24, and continues through Sunday Oct. 4. Tickets range in price from $18 for standard admission to $16 for students and senior citizens.