Theatre Review: Noises Off

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
“Noises Off” has been a popular staple in the theater world since the play premiered in 1982. It’s a sex farce, revolving around hidden affairs, innuendo and physical mishaps. The set features seven doors, which start slamming as soon as the play begins.
“What’s wrong with this door?”
“Her interest is definitely aroused.”
“That’s not the bedroom.”
The twist, in “Noises Off,” isit’s a play within a play depicting an ill-fated production a hapless theater company. The fun stems from watching the actors struggle for composure as things go wrong.
“Darling, is this the sort of glue that you can never get unstuck?”
At the Sacramento Theater Company’s opening performance, real life began imitating farce as one of the slamming doors came clear off its hinges -- which isn’t in the script. But in the context of this crazy comedy, many folks assumed it was part of the plan. The actors, bless them, kept on going -- one guy even did pullups in the empty door frame as a stunt.
Sac Theater’s production is spirited and crisply performed – timing is everything in this show. It’s remarkably funny. And I’ve seen enough productions of “Noises Off” to know what’s coming . . . at least, I can anticipate the playwright’s planned malfunctions.
“She just burst into the room, and her dress came off!”  (Laughter)
But it’s the company’s smooth maneuvering through unexpected surprises that sets this savvy production apart.

"Noises Off" continues at the Sacramento Theatre Company through November 1.