Review: Noises Off (Scarborough Players)

photo of Noises Off castScarborough Village Theatre presents the farcical play Noises Off in east Toronto

The actors of Noises Off at the Scarborough Village Theatre put on a fantastic show about actors putting on a not-so-fantastic show called “Nothing On.” Mishaps, both onstage and off, multiply with each scene throughout the course of this farce.

This play about a play was well-loved by the audience, thanks largely to the witty story by Michael Frayn, the physical comedy by the earnest but confused characters, as well as a set that shows us the stage of the fictional play in the first and final acts, but pivots to show what happens behind-the-scenes in the second act allowing us to see the frenzied behaviour on the other side of the curtain.

Designed by Wayne Cardinalli, the set is comprised of many doors, some of which have a mind of their own. Brooke (Melissa Williams) marvels at the number of them; she is an actor in Nothing On who overemphasizes every line. Brooke is secretly dating director Lloyd (Rich Burdett) who gives sarcastic instructions to the cast while standing among the audience members, tea in hand. Harried stage manager Poppy (Misha Harding) completes the love triangle, scuttling across the stage to tend to missed cues and missing actors such as Selsdon (Daryn Dewalt), while keeping an eye on Lloyd.

The other love triangle that distracts these theatre professionals from their work involves Dotty (stand out Malorie Mandolidis) whose initial lines in Nothing On have been committed to the audience’s memory by the third act. Her first boyfriend Garry (Robert Frances) is heartbroken when Freddy (Holm Bradwell) catches Dotty’s eye. Dotty cannot cope with her love troubles and, in the final scene, she basically gives up on acting — mid-performance. This leaves her colleagues to improvise in a hilariously desperate and clumsy manner, and even the fixer Belinda (Christine Dick) cannot pull the cast together. Her show-must-go-on attitude is no match for pants falling down, props getting mixed up, and understudies (Greg Nowlan) playing the wrong characters. Noises Off becomes slapstick-funny, and the final scene has the audience in stitches.

I’ll add that the theatre program was nicely done. We have the usual Noises Off program, but when you flip it over, we have the Nothing On program, complete with British advertisements.

People who experience hearing difficulties will be happy to learn that the Ontario Trillium Foundation has provided funding to install a “hearing loop system” at the Scarborough Village Theatre. This allows people to either tune in their hearing aids to the audio system, or to borrow a hearing assistance device. What a great present for Scarborough Players’ 60th anniversary as this accessibility allows them to make even more people laugh.

Details:

  • Noises Off is playing until October 20, 2018 at Scarborough Village Theatre (3600 Kingston Road)
  • Shows run October 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 at 8:00 PM as well as October 7, 14, 20 at 2:00 PM
  • Ticket prices ranges from $20 to $24
  • Tickets are available online or in person at the box office
  • Hearing assistance devices are available

Photo of Malorie Mandolidis, Holm Bradwell, Christine Dick, Greg Nowlan, Daryn DeWalt, Melissa Williams, Richard Burdett, Misha Harding (clockwise) provided by the company

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