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‘Noises Off’ Done Right

The Rep scores with Michael Frayn’s comedy

Nov. 27, 2013
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Michael Frayn’s Noises Off is a clever comic script that requires an unsettling degree of comic precision on the part of everyone involved. The Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s production solidly delivers the precision necessary for bringing the comedy to life. The ensemble is well balanced and finely tuned.

Noises Off involves a group of actors playing a group of actors playing characters in a scene that is seen at three different stages in its theatrical run—onstage, offstage and backstage. As much a magic trick involving physical comedy as a piece of narrative theater, the Rep’s Noises Off is as effective a production of the comedy as one is likely to see at any point in the future. Those who haven’t been satisfied with previous iterations need look no further. This is one that works.

When everything is rolling in Noises Off, the experience of seeing it come together is a lot like listening to a world-class orchestra do justice to a brilliant symphony. Director KJ Sanchez juggles the frenetic action onstage with the aid of a really good cast. It’s nice to see actors who have been working together extensively for years run through a project like this. Laura Gordon achieves a cleverly understated charm as Dotty Otley, an actress plagued by various props including several plates of sneaky sardines. Gerard Neugent is fun as an actor somewhat cut off from his own vocabulary in casual conversation. Deborah Staples is comically heroic in her attempts to keep everything together.

The Rep’s Nosies Off runs through Dec. 22, at the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater, 108 E. Wells St. For tickets, call 414-224-9490 or visit milwaukeerep.com.


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