‘Noises Off’ at A Noise Within

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AmyLyons90BY AMY LYONS

Michael Frayn’s classic farce about the neuroses and narcissism of theatre people is the perfect vehicle to flaunt the talents of the troupe at A Noise Within.

Co-directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott (also the theatre’s co-founders and co-artistic directors) move the play-within-a-play’s cast through one bumbling mishap after another,  meticulously crafting a chaotic journey that plays as an organically unfurling storm of egomania, jealousy and general foppery.

L to R: Jill Hill (Brenda), Stephen Rockwell (Freddy), Deborah Strang (Dotty), Mikael Salazar (Garry), Geoff Elliott (Lloyd) Photo: Craig Schwartz

L to R: Jill Hill (Brenda), Stephen Rockwell (Freddy), Deborah Strang (Dotty), Mikael Salazar (Garry), Geoff Elliott (Lloyd) Photo: Craig Schwartz

Elliott aptly plays Lloyd Dallas, a director straining to veil his rage as he mounts the world premiere of a new play destined for disaster. In Act I, we see the dress rehearsal, which seems to start out on a fairly decent note, but soon dissolves into a morass of forgotten lines, missed cues, and the emergence of  emotional issues and messy romantic ties. Act II jumps to the backstage area during a performance some weeks later, where we glimpse the behind-the-scenes roots of the front-of-house blunders. In Act II, it’s closing night and we see from the audience’s point of view just how much the show has devolved.

Dotty Otley (Deborah Strang) triggers the riotous series of mistakes in Act I, and doesn’t stop screwing up throughout. Strang brings a haggard, hilarious energy to the role, steering Dotty deftly through a hilarious chain of events that culminate in near breakdown. Early on, we discover Dotty is getting it on with Gary (Mikael Salazar), a tongue-tied goofball who regularly blurts unfinished thoughts as if imparting nuggets of wisdom. Gary goes ballistic when he thinks Dotty has found another lover in the cast. And it turns out that the supposedly cool-headed director is getting in on with Brooke (Emily Kosloski), a blonde bombshell in possession of zero intellect. He’s also banging the stage manager, Poppy (Lenne Klingaman), the revelation of which sends Brooke through the roof. A slew of additional foibles emerge as the troupe struggles to entertain audiences, but is continually side-tracked by unwieldy emotional states and stupidity. The frantic scene is side-splitting.

Scenic artist Jennifer Inglis hits a home run with her revolving set, while real-life stage manager Meghan Kennedy deserves kudos for organizing this insane, unmanageable romp.

Through December 19 and returning in February. A Noise Within, 234 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Call (818) 240-0910. www.anoisewithin.org

Amy Lyons is a professional freelance journalist and theatre critic, with a degree in Theatre Arts and English from UMass, Boston. She started her journalism career at The Boston Globe and is a member of the Drama Critics Circle. Her articles, theatre reviews and photos regularly appear in numerous publications, including the Beverly Press, Valley Life Magazine, the Santa Monica Mirror and www.nohoartsdistrict.com

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.