By PAM HARBAUGH
It’s slapstick gone wild at Surfside Player’s very funny production of Michael Frayn’s award winning farce, “Noises Off!”
In the 32 years since its 1983 Broadway debut, “Noises Off!” has been box office manna poured down upon community theater. The comedy, done well, pretty much assures financial success. But it still takes a director with a gift for slapstick, a cast who can pump energy and physical gags into their roles, and a technical director who can create two sets out of revolving scenery.
Surfside scores on all of those points, delivering a show filled to the brim with laughs.
The idea behind “Noises Off!” is that the audience is seeing the offstage reality for a cast of another play, “Nothing On.” The first act begins around midnight during a dress rehearsal from hell. The second act, set one month later while the company is on the road, takes place behind the scenery where backstage shenanigans threaten to destroy the performance. Finally, the third act (it zips by, don’t worry) we’re back at the audience’s perspective for the final performance.
In between, the stage revolves, which is always entertaining, no matter how many times you’ve seen the show. There’s always some little detail that goes wrong, much to the delight of meta-theater aficionados.
Director Bryan Bergeron creates a second act filled with fun slapstick. We know the basic backstories to the characters and now we get a chance to see them unleashed with raw humor. Especially funny are Dusty Ray in the role of pompous actor Garry LeJeune; Becky Behl-Hill as worn out actress Dotty Otley; and Matt Hall as beleaguered assistant stage manager and walk-on actor Tim Allgood.
John Dwyer and Michael Thompson have some hysterical moments as drunk actor Selsdon Mowbray and the director plagued by the cast of this ludicrous play within a play.
Mr. Bergeron also does good work on the scenic design, especially that of the backstage. Kudos also to lighting designer Matt Davis and sound designer Mike Mellen.
This is a slick, tightly produced show. It may be three acts but it zips along quickly and keeps you laughing throughout.
SIDE O’ GRITS:
“Noises Off!” runs through Sept. 27 at Surfside Playhouse, 301 Ramp Road, Cocoa Beach (at Fifth Street). $22 general, $20 seniors and military and $17 students. Call 321-783-3127 or visit SurfsidePlayers.com.