Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Roving Pittsburgher Report - And the Award for Best Dramatic Backstage Performance Goes To… Review of Noises Off, PPT's June 5th 2014 Performance

And the Award for Best Dramatic Backstage Performance Goes To…
Review of Noises Off, Pittsburgh Public Theater's June 5th 2014 Performance

From:  Roving Pittsburgher Report and PositivePittsburghLiveMagazine.com
Written By:  Stephanie Curtice  |  June 07, 2014

Upstairs: Garret Long
Downstairs (l to r): Noah Plomgren, Laura Woyasz,
Helena Ruoti, Preston Dyar, Karen Baum
Photo Courtesy: Pittsburgh Public Theater
For anyone who has ever performed on stage, probably the most memorable moments did not occur on stage, but instead at rehearsals and back stage - where there is typically WAY more drama.  The Pittsburgh Public Theater is wrapping up their 39th season with Michael Frayn’s comical farce “Noises Off,” directed by Don Stephenson.  The O’Reilly Theater was roaring with belly-aching laughter at the opening show on June 5, 2014.

Now most businesses have at least one person that is a pro at stirring up workplace drama.  You know the pretty person who somehow skates by on looks and not much more, the annoying over-analyzer, the dinosaur who is way past their prime and barely contributes, or an egotistical, arrogant, condescending boss?  Well in the world of the arts, specifically theatre, those are ALL practically cast staples only amplified – a lot.  “Noises Off” is a hilarious play full of misinterpretations, innuendo, and big personalities that is a window into the world of live stage acting.  Ok, so it may be slightly over exaggerated, that’s what a farce is… but really, only slightly.

Foreground: Helena Ruoti and Noah Plomgren
Background: Karen Baum
Photo Courtesy: Pittsburgh Public Theater
“Noises Off” is a show in a show.  No, “Nothing On” is a show in a show with a cast of actors who play actors in “Noises…”  No, that’s not right either, did the chicken or the egg?  Ok, “Noises Off” is a funny show in another funny show, in which the cast portrays a cast of actors with big personalities.  Explaining this is like those little Russian doll things, Matryoshkas or Babushkas.

Wait no I’ve got this… in the hilarious show “Noises Off” a cast of fabulous professional actors (undoubtedly with big personalities) play a troupe of mediocre British actors with stereotypical theater personalities, in “Nothing On,” a sexy comedic play about characters who, with the tiresome and haphazard orchestration of a sassy house keeper, unknowingly end up in situations that could be misinterpreted and then intertwine the cast into a swirl of humorous and compromising situations.  Whew!  We see the cast of “Nothing On” attempt a dress rehearsal, then see the same show a month into the tour, from backstage and after the cast has become shall we say more “familiar” with each other, and then finally again two months out on tour when the drama from backstage really spills over to the front and the wheels come off.  But the show must go on!

Laura Woyasz
Photo Courtesy: Pittsburgh Public Theater
Just to be clear the wheels didn’t come off “Noises Off.”  It was amazing and so much fun.  The intricate choreography of “Noises Off” to create the impression of not-quite-perfected or mistake-and-accident-prone staging of “Nothing On” was outstanding.  Characters going into closets then reappearing through the wrong door, plates of sardines remaining in the kitchen when they are supposed to be brought out by one person for a different character to play off of in the next scene in a different room, missed lines, preempted entrances, props breaking on stage, were all carefully choreographed to purposefully seem like the hokey mishaps of an Ed Wood movie or Night of the Living Dead.  If “Nothing On” was a movie, the guys from Mystery Science Theater would have a field day.

Led by the accomplished director and actor, Don Stephenson, the cast of Noises off was phenomenal.  Noah Plomgren, Laura Woyasz, Preston Dyar, and Garrett Long were all very funny, as they were creatively corralled by the hilarious Helena Ruoti as the house keeper in “Nothing On”.  The angst of the on stage director trying to coordinate this show was too funny.  Michael MacCauley reminded me of Fred Armisen from Saturday Night Live and Portlandia.  The entire cast was so good and so funny!  “Noises Off” is a must-see, it was so much fun!

Additional Performances:
Show runs through June 29th, 2014 at the O’Reilly Theater

By:  Stephanie Curtice
Good News and Cultural Reporter
(c) PositivelyPittsburghLiveMagazine.com 2014

1 comment:

  1. wow, this review really makes you want to see the play because it's so hilarious in itself.