Indiana Repertory Theatre closes its season with a bang, or rather the slamming of many doors, in Noises Off. I’ll admit that farces don’t tend to tickle my funny bone, but this one is an exception to the rule. It rises above the general stereotype of mistaken identities and slapstick (though there is plenty of both) by adding another brilliant layer. It is a play within a play, three acts and two intermissions packed with nonstop humor.
In the first act we meet a cast rehearsing a farce called “Nothing On”. This opening gives each character a chance to warm up and establish some basic ticks. The next two acts expertly build on those so that the audience always feels like it’s in on the joke. In the second and third act, the audience watches the matinée and evening performances unfold. The hilarity lies in the farce that is unfolding behind the scenes as the cast acts out another on the stage. One character describes the situation as “becoming farcical” and the on-the-nose description is perfect.
Garry (Jerry Richardson) goes above and beyond with his acrobatic physical comedy. He’s able to say so much with one incredulous look. Heidi Kettenring is also particularly good as the tittering Belinda, attempting to keep everything running smoothly in the midst of the chaos. The cast creates a frenzied atmosphere that adds to the comedy.
The production also includes one of the best sets I’ve seen at the IRT and that is saying something. Scenic designer Bill Clarke create a two-story home with seven doors to facilitate the raucous show. It’s beautifully designed and incredibly functional for the unique needs of the show. At the opening of each act the curtain is closed, which allows for a fun reveal and audience applause.There is some language and one risqué costume, so I would suggest keeping the laughs to teens or older for this one.
Don't Miss the Show
The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois St. and southbound Capitol Ave. "Noises Off" runs until May 20 on IRT's Main Stage. Times for performances can be found at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com
*Photos courtesy of the Indiana Repertory Theatre