Falling Down Funny

On Friday, May 5th, I had the great pleasure of seeing the opening of ACT’s production of Noises Off by Michael Frayn, directed by Keir Malone. It was a hoot, to say the least. There are three acts in this production, with one longer intermission between Act I and II. The first act follows the dress rehearsal of a play within the play, a farce called Nothing On. The actors fumble through their piece – starting and stopping with interruptions from their very tired director (played by Richard Haines). Between acts, a speedy crew of stage-hands flip the set from front to back and then again from back to front. Watching this transformation was theatre magic, a real treat that kept me from making my usual mad dash to the washroom once the lights came up for intermission. The second act follows the actors as they perform their piece on a rather emotional day. Because their show is “in play” in front of “an audience,” we get to watch as their personal drama unfolds practically in silence backstage. Act II was hands-down my favourite part of the production – So much choreography, and slapstick humour. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. After flipping the set back to its original position, the chaos intensifies in Act III as we see the actors performing their piece with all of their unsolved vendettas against each other. Some stand-out performances include Noah Nazim as the self-deprecating Frederick Fellowes, and Amy Sobol as the basket-case Assistant Stage Manager, Poppy. However, all of the performers in this piece have their moments of hilarity, and it was often difficult for me to choose who to watch and when. They had their work cut out for them with the fast pace nature of this show, and boy did they follow through!

For me, some of the best shows are the ones where there’s so much going on that it’s hard to catch everything, where my eyes are glued to the performers, where I’m laughing audibly without a hint of insecurity… Noises Off had all of this and more! Don’t sleep on this piece – playing this week from Wednesday (May 10th) – Saturday (May 13th) at The Florence Simmons Performance Hall in Charlottetown!

– Becca Griffin (TheatrePEI/CreativePEI)

(Photo by David Gladstone)

Theatre PEI


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