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A widely held theatrical superstition - a bad dress rehearsal is thought to mean a good opening night – however Director Lloyd Dallas(Nathan Krug) is just hopinDramag to finish dress rehearsal before opening night curtain! Cues are missed, lines are blown, props are missing, doors won’t open/close, Vicki/Brooke Ashton (Jessica Carpenter) loses a contact lens and then there’s the Burglar/Selsdon Mowbray (Tony Labriola), who drinks!
Dotty Otley (Deb Brunette), an actress of a certain age who has put life her savings into this production is playing Mrs. Clackett. Flavia Brent/Belinda Blair (Yvonne Ambrose), kind of an ‘earth mother’ to the cast, fills the clueless Lloyd in on cast gossip – Dotty and younger lead actor Roger Tramplemain/Garry Lejeune (Jeffrey Pastiak) are involved; Philip Brent/Frederick Fellowes (Andy Leahy) is looking for reassurance because his wife just left him. The only thing Belinda didn’t know – Lloyd is involved with both Brooke and Poppy Norton-Taylor (Kate Messier), the stage manager. Off stage, Tim Allgood (Eric Lee) is supposed to keep everything working.
Audience members should be aware that although Act I has its funny moments, it is really a set-up for what follows. Act II offers the audience a rare opportunity to see go backstage during a production – and see the feuding cast and the chaos they create. Act III occurs three months later, on the final stop on the tour, with the feckless cast just going through the motions.
Kudos to scenic designer Shawn A. Smith and the Drama Group construction crew on figuring out a way make a complicated set completely revolve in a very small space. Many of the audience members stayed in their seats to watch the transition, done to the stirring music of the William Tell Overture.
I recommend “Noises Off,” which always makes me laugh. “Noises Off” runs through February 12th at the Drama Group’s Studio Theatre, 330 W. 202 Street, Chicago Heights. FYI 708-755-3444 or www.dramagroup.org.