Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Noises Off"

Photo Credit:  Lone Tree Arts Center

Playwright:  Michael Frayn.

VenueLone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons Street, Lone Tree, CO  80124

Company:  Co-produced by Lone Tree Arts Center and Starkey Theatrix

Date of Performance:  Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Running Time:  2 hours, 15 minutes (includes one 10 minute one 5 minute intermission)

Although I’ve seen a lot of theater over the years, I’ve never been backstage at a dress rehearsal hours before the opening performance.  Of course, I’ve never seen how sausage is made either.  The difference is that sausage making is not fun to watch, while the dress rehearsal in Noises Off is hilarious.  I think I can say, without spoiling any of the fun, that Noises Off successfully demonstrates how a production can go off the rails and descend into insanity and hilarity.

A “play within a play,” Noises Off is a complex, layered, frenetic script offering substantial challenges to the director (Nick Sugar) and the cast.  The actors are playing dual roles here, first as “actors” and second as the characters they portray in “Nothing On,” a play that is always near collapse both on and offstage. 

Photo credit:  Lone Tree Arts Center
Sugar has assembled an experienced and talented cast that is more than equal to the challenges.  Precise comedic timing is an essential element for Noises Off, and the cast is consistently amazing for hitting their marks at exactly the right time.  Michael Bouchard (“Garry”) Anna Gibson (“Brooke) Evan Marquez (“Freddie”) and Lauren Bahlman (“Belinda”) are the center of gravity around which the other characters orbit.  Their timing, gestures, facial expressions, and delivery sell the action and entertain the audience at every turn. 

Anna Gibson (“Brooke”) stands out here as an airheaded actress who doesn’t realize she’s unintentionally hysterical.  She is not just endearingly ditzy, but she also heats up the stage with her costume (which appears to be lingerie from Fredericks of Hollywood).  She never seems to notice that she is usually the only one onstage in underwear, and acts as if it’s all perfectly normal.  At one point, in fact, she offers to take it all off (she doesn’t), as if that would somehow solve some problems.

Evan Marquez (“Freddie”) has mastered physical comedy, and even manages to climb a flight of stairs with his pants around his ankles. (His Union Jack boxers are a hoot.)  His facial gestures are deliciously exaggerated as he reacts with what appears to be genuine surprise at the developments.

The first act drags a little, but it’s essential to setting up the chaos of the second act.  There is a lot of physical comedy here…so much so that it’s exhausting just watching the actors. 

If I have a quibble with the production, it’s that the program does not credit the set designer.  Presumably, the credit goes to both the Lone Tree Arts Center and to Starkey Theatrix.  The 360 degree set is striking in its functionality and detail.  It sits on a turntable, and can display both the onstage action and the backstage chaos.  The set here is as important as the characters; I think the designer deserves a mention in the program.  In any event, a tip of my hat to whoever was responsible for putting that set together.

I had a great time watching this performance.  Noises Off is engaging, charming, entertaining, and hilarious.  It definitely gets my recommendation.  However, it’s a pretty short run (through February 10), so if you’re interested, you need to book tickets soon.   


This show runs through February 10, 2013.  Noises Off may not be appropriate for young children due to some vulgar language in the first act. 

If you haven’t been to the Lone Tree Arts Center (west of I-25 at Lincoln), you haven’t seen one of the newest and finest theaters in the area.  The Main Stage Theater seats nearly 500, but feels much more intimate.  It’s a great venue, and the line up of coming attractions is impressive.

Director:  Nick Sugar

Lighting Designer:  Jacob Welch

Producers:  Starkey Theatrix & Lone Tree Arts Center

Costume Designer:  Linda Morkin


Trina Magness, Michael Bouchard, Evan Marquez.  Photo credit: LTAC
Dotty:  Trina Magness

Brooke:  Anna Gibson

Garry:  Michael Bouchard

Poppy:  Rachel Bouchard

Belinda:  Lauren Bahlman

Freddie:  Evan Marquez

Selsdon:  Ron Welch

Tim:  Scott Cahoon

Lloyd:  Kurt Brighton


  1. I believe they didn't credit the set designer because this is the exact same set that was used in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival production last summer. I suspect Starkey Productions just bought it from them.

  2. Todd:

    That would definitely explain it.