"That's what it's all about, doors and sardines. Getting on, getting off. Getting the sardines on, getting the sardines off. That's farce. That's theater. That's life;" and so begins Interboro High School's production of Noises Off!
Noises Off! was coined by the New York Post as one of the funniest farces ever written. Written by Tony Award winner Michael Frayn, Noises Off! is not just one play—it's two! This play within a play interlocks a farce on its final rehearsal and tour with the occurrence of backstage disasters. Eventually, the chaos turns into a nightmare. Ultimately, the two integrate and the final performance is a catastrophe, causing nervous breakdowns within the cast and crew.
The moment director Lloyd Dallas (Tré Fountain) stepped in front of the audience, his projection and presence captivated the crowd. With his charming deliverance of comic lines and his ability to display a broad spectrum of emotions, Fountain commanded attention. Additionally, Brittany Moyer played the role of Poppy Norton-Taylor, Lloyd's assistant stage director, with dexterity. Moyer skillfully captured the sincerity of Poppy's anxious and overwrought persona, which continually delighted the audience.
Although the energy of some characters was somewhat lacking, Selsdon Mowbray (Kyle Pedrick), playing the role of a burglar, brought excitement and vibrancy to the stage. Pedrick managed to enrich the cast and audience with his liveliness and vivacity, despite the elderly age of his character. This can also be said for Kevin Robinson, who played the role of Tim Allgood, the stage manager. Robinson's rich variety of facial expressions continually humored his audience. Laughter was almost guaranteed to follow each comedic line by this talented actor.
Overall, throughout the show, the ensemble performers interacted well with each other. While the ensemble of Tim (Robinson), Poppy (Moyer), and Lloyd (Fountain) successfully blended comedy with veracity, the ensemble of the couples were somewhat lacking in sincerity and depth of characters. However, the enthusiasm and chemistry of the cast improved over time, allowing the actors to bring the much-needed energy and hilarity to the final act of the production.
The complexity of building a number of doors and staircases for the set in this production did not go unnoticed. Additionally, the stage crew effectively transformed the intricate set during both intermissions, with the clever use of a "revolving stage." Despite slight defects in sound over the course of the night, the cast continually performed without a hitch.
Ultimately, Interboro High School's production of Noises Off! capably captured the drama and alacrity of this classical farce, proving that "When all around is strife and uncertainty, there's nothing like a good old fashioned plate of, uh"…distinguished high school theater!