Academy’s ‘Noises Off’ Delivers Big Laughs

by Melissa De La Vega
Mark Roderick as Garry and Missy Potash as Brooke in “Noises Off” at the Academy Playhouse. BOB TUCKER/FOCAL POINT STUDIOS PHOTO Mark Roderick as Garry and Missy Potash as Brooke in “Noises Off” at the Academy Playhouse. BOB TUCKER/FOCAL POINT STUDIOS PHOTO

Hilarity and hijinks dominate in the classic comedy “Noises Off” which opened Thursday night at the Academy Playhouse in Orleans. The show is a riotous ride filled with belly laughing, eye-watering fun. This is a night out at the theater you won't want to miss.

Written by novelist and playwright Michael Frayn, the comedy premiered in London in 1982 and was revived on Broadway in 2015, earning several Tony Award nominations. Even after 40 years, “Noises Off” is a fan favorite with its mix of comedy, chaos and endless humor.

The story is a masterful farce, a play-within-a-play that takes the audience on a wild journey through three acts of actors playing actors trying to pull off a doomed mundane play called “Nothing On.” Everything that can go wrong does go wrong: the director loses faith in the production, the actors misplace props and can’t get their lines right, and love triangles threaten the demise of the play.

Each cast member plays two roles: their primary character and also their character in “Nothing On.” Act one is a technical rehearsal of the play-within-a-play; act two reveals a backstage glimpse of a matinee of the show where the tension starts to build; and act three brings the audience to the end of the show’s rowdy run where pure pandemonium breaks out. The cast leaves us utterly catching our breath from laughing so hard! Nothing goes right in their planning and execution of the show as doors open and slam shut, plates of sardines are strewn about, trousers drop and punches are thrown. Sounds hectic and confusing, right? You’ll have to get tickets to see what I mean!

Directing the show is Karen Hepinstall, who also took the lead with costume design and casting of the incredibly talented cast of nine. The stage takes on a life of its own in “Noises Off'' (check out APA’s Facebook page for a great video of the set!), and for each act the entire set is turned in on itself, creating a unique point of view for the audience. The set was masterfully designed and constructed by Mark Roderick with the help of Nick Dorr. Roderick also plays Garry, the show’s leading man, and delivers goofy wit and sly smiles galore. He even manages to take a well-orchestrated nasty spill down the set’s flight of stairs!

Directing the play within a play is Lloyd, played by Dan Rabold, who finds himself in a hectic love triangle with the stage manager, Poppy (played by Rachel Walman) and Brooke (played by Missy Potash). Potash plays a wild, lingerie-wearing, contact-losing young actress, and is hilarious in her comedic timing, as was Julia Randall, who plays Dotty, the sardine-slinging housekeeper. The wildly animated Erica Morris plays Belinda, the bubbly, chipper actress trying to keep the peace and hold the show together, along with nose-bleeding, pants-dropping Frederick, played by Keith Richard Chamberlain. Rounding out the wickedly talented cast of local actors is Jace Carpenter as the flustered do-it-all stage manager Tim and Nick Dorr, who plays Selsdon, the loveable, elder actor in the troupe who scurries off as much as he can to find a drink. The Academy Playhouse knocked it out of the part with this passionately hilarious cast.

“Noises Off” is the type of ridiculous fun we all crave in life and in theater, and the cast and crew at APA pulled it off wonderfully. Beware — your face will hurt from laughing so much!


“Noises Off”

At the Academy Of Performing Arts, Main Street, Orleans

Through May 12, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

Information and reservations: 508-255-1963,