||In introducing this play, Sutter Street Theatre CEO
Connie Mockenhaupt explained that Noises Off is the British way
of saying “Quiet backstage.” Having imparted that educational bit, I’ll
proceed to tell you that this play has a very unusual set. The design
challenges were formidable and were all met, except maybe for one thing.
Nevertheless, you will love the set, but you will pay the price for
Here are the reasons you will think
the show is worth the price of loving it. You will LAUGH. Noises Off
has been billed as the “funniest play every written,” and I believe you
will agree if you have the strength to agree when you finish laughing.
The cast members are exceptional, and my remarks about them will occur
in alphabetical order lest any inferences be made.
Chelsea Ciechanowski (Brooke/Vicki) was the naughty
girl in Evil Dead and a sort-of naughty girl in Holiday in the
Hills, and here she is again, naughty as ever. I know she is a
gifted access and could play most anything – but no one does naughty
like Chelsea does. Her sweet and beautiful face is a venue for that
special naughty that looks innocent.
Marcus Daniel (Selsdon/Burglar) blusters his way into the spotlight with
bad (good-bad, not bad-bad) timing and a love for the bottle. His
physical appearance is just right for the role, and he certainly has a
great feel for it (good-feel, not bad-feel).
Tyler Eckert looked grubbier than I have seen him, and
I’m assuming it was on purpose since his role of Stage Manager ( in the
show-show – not the show) certainly calls for grubby. He’s brilliant
when he’s acting like he isn’t. He also briefly plays “The Sheik” but
the sheet hides his Stage Manager aura.
Blake Flores (Frederick/Philip) topped himself in
goofiness. But it’s such a suave goofiness. He elicits confidence,
sympathy, and other positive reactions – and who could ask for more? You
will suffer with him when his pants are down – both figuratively and
Aaron Horne (Garry/Roger) was last seen here in And
Then There Were None but you won’t recognize him. He says he’s “refining
his craft.” Ha! No, really he is, but he is out-of-control wonderful in
Mike Jimena (Director of the “show within a show”)
brings to this role things we have not seen him bring – at least not all
to the same role. He is sweet, sympathetic, patient, volatile, loud,
(well, you’ve seen some of these things), masterful, chicken, at his
wit’s end, perfectly in charge…and…you name it.
Alison Lewis (Belinda/Flavia): This lady is a pro, and
if you read her bio, you will see why. When you watch her, you just know
everything is going to be all right. Actually, it isn’t, but you never
lose your faith in her anyway. When she is flustered, it’s a dynamic
fluster, and that’s just what the audience needs from her.
Connie Mockenhaupt (Dotty/”lady with the sardines”),
from the moment she appears on stage, presents a face that tells the
audience members they are in for a party. Her facial expressions
throughout are worth the time and effort involved to get there, park,
etc. Delivery and timing are essential to this show’s success, and she
is the quintessential “person-who-is-good-at-these.” And she’s cute as
Vanessa Voetsch (Poppy, the stage manager, not from,
but in…Hell): Our hearts bleed for this woman. She’s where the buck
stops, but it never stops. Vanessa was exactly right in portraying her
as stolidly intending to have everything go well, but painfully
accepting of the fact that it’s just not going to happen.
So…make every effort to see this show. It runs
February 21-April 4, 2015.