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Despite exhausting script, Noises Off must go on 

Even though several actors are out of commission, director Bob Baker's remaining cast does its best to sell the trying performances 


theatrereview 

Noises Off 

Runs until 14 October 
Directed by Bob Baker 
Starring Ashley Wright, John 
Kirkpatrick, and Tom Wood 
Citadel Theatre 

BRYAN SAUNUERS 

Arts & Entertainment Staff 


Noises Off, di retted by Bob Baker and 
written by Michael Frayn, follows a 
simple plot: it’s a play within a play, 
where everything that can go wrong 
does. 

The list of scripted glitches acted out 
is long, ranging from set malfunctions 
to misplaced sardines to actors lieing 
nowhere in sight just minutes liefore 
they’re supposed to Ire on stage, and 
more; it all makes for some excellent 
comedic fodder. 

Unfortunately, there were some 
unscripted malfunctions during this 
Citadel production of Noises Off Mere 
days liefore the sl»w was to open. 
Citadel veteran Julien Arnold, set to play 
the main role of Frederick, suffered a 
heart attack and is currently in die lios- 
pital. Preview show s were cancelled, and 
Ashley Wright, another Citadel veteran, 
was called to fill Arnolds shoes In iust 
tlireedays. Wright learned his pan. 

But if that wasn't enough unscripted 
trouble, John Kirkpatrick, cast in the 
role of director Lloyd Dallas, was called 
away on opening night due to a family 
emergency and the opening night had 
to be cancelled. But, as the saying goes, 
"the show must go on.” and so it did. 


James MacDonald the Citadel's associ¬ 
ate artistic director was called to tem¬ 
porarily fill Kirkpatrick's role, and a day 
after the play was supposed to open, it 
did just that. 

Considering that one of the actors had 
three days, and a nother a mere six hours 
to learn their respective pans, the aging 
is remarkable- Wright's performance as 
Frederick is bang on. MacDonald may 
have liad to subdy carry a script at times, 
but his aaing was cliaraaerisrically pro¬ 
fessional. Tom Wood, playing Selsdon 
the burglar, continues to live up to the 
high standard he's created for himself 
in previous Citadel prod net iems, and 
Matthew MacFadzean. in the role of 
Garry, carries the play to new heights 
with tlie intensity he brings to his role 


Despite die excellent 
acting and well-oiled 
technical aspects in 
Noises OS', die script 
itselfis flawed. 


Finally, making her Citadel debut 
is the dazzling Melissa MacPherson. 
MacPherson's charager. Brooke, is a 
bit of a tart who. evidently, isn’t afraid 
of showing serious skin. The role 
demands that she be part of the joke 
without appearing wise to it—a more 
difficult task than some may believe, 
but one that MacPherson manages to 
pull off successfully. 

Special congratulations are due to 
Meredith Scott, the dialea coach for 
this produaion, as all the aaors speak 
flawlessly in British accents. Likewise. 


Leslie Frankish and Robert Thomson 
deserve some recognition for their 
work on set and costume design, and 
lighting design, respectively—all of 
these details add nicely to the play 
without distracting from it. 

But. despite the excellent acting and 
well-oiled technical aspects in Noises 
Off tlie script itself is flawed. Jokes 
return three, four, sometimes a dozen 
times through the course of the play and 
quickly lose their punch. Because of this, 
tlie audience can't help but feel bogged 
down at times, despite the rapid-fire 
energy the actors maintain on stage. 

It's not just the jokes that are drawn 
out. but the plot as well. The first 
act follows the dress rehearsal a day 
before opening night; the second 
act showcases the backstage antics 
once the play has been running for a 
month; and the third act exhibits what 
the play has degenerated to six months 
later as it tours around the country. 

The first act is almost a play by itself, 
and indeed, some audience members 
seemed to think that the end of the 
first act was actually the end of the 
play. Tlie second act is convoluted and 
muted and, overall, not at all what it 
could be. and the third act would have 
just been deja-vu, except the aaors per¬ 
formed it with such chaotic energy that 
the play within the play still captivated 
the audience the third time around. 

Overall, mostly because of die weak 
second act. Noises Off seems about 30 
minutes too long. So while the attitude 
of'ilieslmw must goon" that Baker has 
so obviously taken to lieart is admirable, 
there remains one lingering question: 
must the show go on for two and a half 
hours? 




MacEwan 


School of 
Communications 



SHOWPROOF m 

DDCCCDI AV ™ 



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think 

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Room 436 

Centre for the Arts 
+ Communications 

10045-156 Street 

October 16—6:30 pm 

Information Session 

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www.MacEwan.ca j 


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