Many of us have been told to be sure to go in the in door, and out the out door – whether in restaurants, stores, hotel lobbies, and perhaps the maxim can even be applied with respect to metaphorically tackling the pleasurable and sometimes agonizing challenges of life. One has almost certainly never seen this many doors literally open and close in two hours of their lifespan as they will from wisely heading down sooner rather than later to the Segal Centre and viewing the juggernaut that has been wowing audiences in one form – and language – or another for a mere generation or two, Noises Off.
With the thrill of having international performing arts sensation – and an acclaimed small and big screen powerhouse as Jacob Tierney directing, and an assembled cast of proven and supremely gifted actors from all across the country, this raucous rendition of Michael Frayn’s tantalizing tour de force is a must-see from opening curtain to final belly laugh.
Steeped in farce and a brilliant stage version of what some might want to dub fast and furiously funny, so to speak, the stage direction and timing of those performing on it had to be nothing short of chiseled from a precise granite of guffaws to effectively entertain, and the actors do not hesitate to rise to the occasion. One might need a scorecard to keep track of all the hilarious pratfalls and doors slamming, but it might take away from the time one may want to take from wiping one’s eyes from the unstoppable tears of laughter that will most certainly be rolling down those of us with cheeks.
With Tierney as maestro, and recognizable theatre veterans Marcel Jeannin, Daniel Lillford, Amanda Lisman, Martha Burns, David Julian Hirsh, Chala Hunter, Michael Musi, Andrew Shaver, and Kaitlyn Riordan sculpting a masterpiece, the theatergoer is in for something whimsical, fanciful, and rip-roaringly chock-full of hilarity and delight. It’s a behind-the-scenes glimpse into not only what goes into putting on a play, but the hijinks and foibles that often accompany it, from the know-it-all behind the clipboard to the do-si-dos in and out of the bedroom.
Written by Frayn some three-and-a-half decades ago and reflecting his own experiences in the theatre, it is a sensory wonderland to absorb the frenetic events behind the curtain as well as those taking place in front of it. It’s akin to looking into a mirror of dramatic production, and then actually getting to step through that mirror and see what’s happening on the other side.
Set designer Pierre-Étienne Locas has outdone himself with his taut, context-rich revolving stage, as have costume and lighting designers Louise Bourret and Nicolas Descôteaux, respectively, with the lively formal and occasionally bawdy attire and the impressive illumination schemes that set the tone of the performances to come.
No one should miss this awe-inspiring production, as it will provide competition to laughing gas production plants everywhere until February 19th of this year. Visit segalcentre.org for more details or call 514-739-7944 .
Photos by Andree Lanthier