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With all that has happened at college in the last two weeks, I think it was very clear that everyone needed their spirits lifted and a good laugh. Thankfully the amazing DRAMSOC cast provided for us, going above and beyond to get this play perfect, even though there were a few last-minute cast changes that could have potentially thrown a spanner in the works (credit to Charlie Sayers and Alex Malouf for learning entirely new roles in a little over a week). The DRAMSOC teams’ performance of ‘Noises Off’ by Michael Frayn was overall a hilarious success with each actor bringing much appreciated comic elements of their own to their character.
‘Noises Off’ is a fantastic comedy set in the 1970’s that shows what Frayn considered to be the most hilarious part of a play – the behind the scenes. In Act One we start with Dotti (portrayed brilliantly by Maddy Greentree) attempting to do her lines in the dress rehearsal before the big night. You are led to believe you are watching the actual play but no, out from the audience appears the egotistical and extremely sarcastic Lloyd Dallas (Ewan Jackman) telling Dotti that she just can’t get it right. The play continues this way throughout the first act, and you really feel the ups and downs of a final rehearsal, you see the frustration and stress. Darcy Neale’s ability to switch between the character her actor plays, flirty, confident, to the vapid and airheaded actor of Brooke is simple but truly farcical. Its these small changes between character and actor that bring the biggest laughs.
Act Two was my personal favourite Act. Here we see the deterioration of the casts relationships, most notably and comically between Dotti and Gary (Maddy Greentree and Charlie Sayers), that results in the upheaval of the play. The backstage look at what shenanigans go on in this environment provided many side splitting laughs from the audience. The switch between the character and actor when the cast is on and off stage is the highlight of the entire play. The actors slamming open doors going on stage and acting contrasted with coming back behind stage to a world of frenzy is simply hysterical. I think it is also important here to appreciate the amazing set constructed significantly by Max Von Appen and the other members of the construction/painting teams as it allowed for the physicality of the humour to thrive.
This theme continues in act three where the physical comedy of the play reaches its peak. The play is in complete disarray and the actors have to ad lib a majority of their lines on stage due to too many plates of sardines or random probs being thrown on stage by vengeful characters waiting to go on. Selsdon’s (Alex Malouf) drinking problems getting confused by Belinda (Charlotte Macdonald) and Freddie (Ben Emmett) is notable evidence of the pure chaos going on backstage in the final act. Tim (Charlie Clay) and Poppy’s (Annabelle Richens) dire attempts to revive to play fall short in an amusing fashion with the repetition of the curtain call, Tim’s readiness to play the burglar and Poppy’s stress due to a certain surprise pregnancy that gets announced backstage much to Lloyd Dallas’s shock.
Overall, the play can be described as simply hysterical. The amazing characterisation of the DRAMASOC cast not only as the actors by the characters those actors play adds so much dimension and layers of comedy gold that the audience went nuts for. This was a fantastic play to watch and the entire cast and crew did an amazing job of bringing this to life.