Friday, March 28, 2014

Theater Review: Repertory Philippines Ultra-Hilarious NOISES OFF

It is always a pleasure to watch a live theater show but it is definitely a doubly rare treat to catch scenes from behind the set and the curtains. In Repertory Philippines’ hilarious production Noises Off, audiences get to have a glimpse of what goes on when the actors are not performing in front of people. 

Actors are humans, too, after all and they have complicated lives like we all do. Of course, on stage, they’d be assuming the persona of whatever character they’re playing. But once they step out of the limelight, they would have to return to their true selves and deal with their personal problems.

Noises Off is a play within a play. The characters are cast members who are starring in a play called Nothing On. Apart from the play, they are individuals who have complicated relationships with some members of the group. 

The funny (and perhaps tragic) thing is, despite the conflicts, angst, and many other problems backstage, the show must go on and everyone is expected to deliver good performances.

The play within a play starts by showing audiences how Nothing On is supposed to run in between cuts from director Lloyd Dallas (Chinggoy Alonzo) who struggles with his cast of tired and frustrated actors. The play, which unfortunately is not very good, involves tax evasion, a Sheikh, and several plates of sardines. 

Lloyd’s problems involve leading actress Dotty Otley (Frances Makil Ignacio) who always gets the blocking wrong, the argumentative Garry Lejeune (Lorenz Martinez) with whom Dotty is in a relationship with, the alcoholic Selsdon Mowbray (Paul Holme) who seems to always go missing, senior actor Frederick Fellowes (Gerard Sison) whose wife has just left him, and young actress Brooke Ashton (Carla Guevara-Laforteza) who is always losing her contact lenses.

To make matters worse, Lloyd is having an affair with both Brooke and the assistant stage manager Poppy (Peachy Atilano). As the rehearsal continues, audiences get to know more about the characters and their idiosyncrasies as secrets and dilemmas are revealed to bring on quarrels, tears, and even nosebleeds!

Act 2 takes place backstage before and during the performance. This is where things really get hilarious. I can’t remember how many times we all laughed out loud and found ourselves with wiping our tears from too much merriment. I think many of us literally almost rolled off our seats from watching the show deteriorate while backstage action became a series of mishaps no thanks to spiteful pranks that made all hell break loose. 

Watching Rep’s excellent cast do the motions of choreographed chaos was amazing. They all have perfect comedic timing even without having to say anything. You guys must watch to see what I am talking about. I am positive that you, too, would be telling all your friends and family to come see Noises Off because it is something that is too good to miss!

In Act 3, the set is once more facing audiences and Nothing On is on its last leg of performances. Stage manager Tim (Nico Dans) starts the act by announcing that the show will be slightly delayed as we hear people screaming and fighting backstage.

Once the curtains are lifted, Dotty enters limping and sporting a leg cast all the while getting her lines and blocking wrong. Things get more shoddy when everybody continue to make mistakes, try to cover for them by changing parts of the play, and eventually making everything worse. 

How did it end? You have to find out for yourself :) 

Kudos to Miguel V. Faustmann and assistant director Robbie Guevara for excellently directing the fantastic cast. Each one had a time to shine on stage and establish his/her character such that audiences are not confused when they’re acting in Nothing On or acting as the actors of the play within a play.

Michael Frayn did such a brilliant job writing Noises Off. It is one of the theater productions that I would remember for a long time because it tickled my funny bone big time. I’m giving it 5 stars out of 5!

Catch Noises off from March 28 to April 27, 2014. It will definitely brighten your day and make you forget your worries for a couple of hours. Show times are at 3:30PM and 8:00PM. 

For more details of the show, you may contact Rep at 843-3570 or 555-0082, e-mail or log on to

Tickets are available through Ticketworld at 891-9999, or via

* To see more photos taken during the press preview, please view this Facebook album

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