- A farce is a farce - lots of doors and often staircases,
lots of physical comedy, lots of impossible situations and
Off,” written in 1982 by the British playwright Michael J.
Frayn, is considered by some to be the ultimate farce because
it is a farce about a farce. It continues to delight audiences
around the world.
physical abilities, the timing, the pacing and the use of a
multitude of props all challenge the actors in the talented
cast assembled by The Milwaukee Rep for its production of this
comedy. They prove that they are all up for the task. It is
especially good to see Laura Gordon take off her director’s
hat and show off her comedic skills in her role as the quirky
Dotty Otley, the maid in charge of sardines, among other
Neugent as the bumbling Garry Lejeune; Deborah Staples as
Belinda Blair, the sanest of the bunch; Sara Zientek as the
harried stage manager Poppy along with her overworked
stagehand and fill-in actor Tim Allgood, played by Joe Boersma,
all contribute to the hilarious whole.
out the parade of players were Aaron Christensen as the
insecure hemophiliac Frederick, whose physical antics were
unbelievable; Jonathan Gillard Daly as Seldson Mowbray,
reliable as the unreliable drunk; Kelley Faulkner as the sexy,
temperamental Brooke Ashton; and Joe Dempsey as Lloyd Dallas,
whose challenges as director on stage and player off stage are
the process of the story, we encounter every director’s
nightmares - characters who miss their lines and/or cues,
actors with egos bigger than their talents, conflicting
liaisons between actors, props that don’t appear or don’t
disappear as required for the story, doors that won’t open
or won’t close, actors who question the believability of the
script, and no-shows, or actors who pout behind closed doors,
to name a few.
play is divided into three acts - a dress rehearsal, being
backstage as a performance is going on, and a final disastrous
production. In my view, Act II was the funniest by far. We
hear the play performed for an audience as all sorts of crises
are going on backstage simultaneously.
Conway gave us a very functional scenic design, Mathew J.
LeFebvre notable costumes, Andrew Cissna and Matt Callahan
effective lighting and sound designs, and Jill Walmsley Zager
authentic dialect coaching for the British accent.
for overall competent direction belongs to KJ Sanchez, who
must have had a lot of fun and fewer headaches than did the
director of the play within the play, working with such a
competent cast of actors. Considering the physical energy
required in a play of this ilk, I hope the actors were having
fun, too. They looked like they were.
you like a whole lot of craziness, “Noises Off” will amuse
Off” runs through Dec. 22 at the Quadracci Powerhouse
Theatre, 108 E. Wells St., Milwaukee. For show times and
tickets, call 414-224-9490 or visit www.Milwaukee.Rep.com