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Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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Published: Thursday, 1/9/2014

PEACH WEEKENDER

Toledo Rep’s ‘Noises Off’ is strictly for laughs

Audience survey placed this light-hearted story near the top of most-popular shows

BY SUE BRICKEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Glen Ackerman (who plays the roles of Selsdon Mowbray and Burgler) stands over Doug Kruse (filling the roles of Garry Lejeune and Roger) as they rehearse a scene from the Toledo Repertoire Theatre’s production of ‘Noises Off.’ Glen Ackerman (who plays the roles of Selsdon Mowbray and Burgler) stands over Doug Kruse (filling the roles of Garry Lejeune and Roger) as they rehearse a scene from the Toledo Repertoire Theatre’s production of ‘Noises Off.’
TODD MICHAELS Enlarge

Noises Off, the Toledo Repertoire Theatre’s latest production, will leave its audiences with no heavy messages, no grim moral, no tear-inducing drama.

This show is serious fun.

“They can come and have a good time laughing,” says Carol Ann Erford, who is co-directing with Wes Skinner. The show, which opens Jan. 17, is chock-full of farce, slapstick, and physical humor.

Noises Off, by English playwright Michael Frayn, gives a funny behind-the-scenes view of what can go wrong, onstage and backstage, during a theatrical production. In this play-within-a-play comedy, a group of dizzy actors stumbles through a really bad sex farce called “Nothing On.” The hopeless actors miss cues, entrances, and exits, forget lines, and fumble with props. The ambitious director, Lloyd Dallas, adds more complications by being involved in a love triangle with Poppy Norton-Taylor, the over-sensitive assistant stage manager, and Brooke Ashton, a self-centered drama queen. There’s also Selsdon Mowbray, an elderly actor with an attraction to whiskey, plus five more not-always-intentionally funny characters.

The first act is set at a dress rehearsal; then in Act Two the set rotates to feature the hilarious mishaps going on backstage that audiences never get to see. Act Three returns to the stage, where the actors are in a performance of “Nothing On” near the end of its run, when things are really falling apart.

The Rep’s cast includes Anna Allegrini as Dotty Otley (and as Mrs. Clackett in “Nothing On”), Lane Hakel as director Lloyd Dallas, Doug Kruse as Garry Lejeune (and Roger), Clara Engel as Brooke Ashton (and Vicki), Aurora Coyle as Poppy Norton-Taylor, Wayne Weber as Frederick Fellowes (and Phillip), Lydia Schafer as Belinda Blair (and Flavia), Craig Alexander as Tim Allgood, the overworked stage manager, and Glen Ackerman as Selsdon Mowbray (and Burgler).

Why is Noises Off the second most popular play in a Toledo Rep audience survey of requested shows? “Because it’s just so light-hearted,” Erford said.

“Noises Off” runs at the Rep, 16 10th St., Jan. 17-19 and Jan. 23-26. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. and Sunday shows are at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, from toledorep.org or 419-243-9277.

 

Rep classes for kids

There still are openings for the Toledo Repertoire Theatre Rep Ed winter classes, which begin Saturday and run through March 1 with the theme “Space Oddities.” Children ages 7 to 16 get instruction in singing, dancing, acting, design, and technical arts along with other theater basics. At the end of the session, they will perform in a showcase for family and friends. Classes are held at the 10th Street Theatre Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon. The eight-week course is $100 per student. Participants should bring a snack, drink, folder, blank CD, and pencil to each class. Flip-flops, clogs, or hard shoes are not permitted. For more information or to register, call Kathy McGovern, Rep business manager, at 419-243-9277, ext. 4. Registrations also will be taken on the day of classes, if openings remain available.

Send theater items at least two weeks in advance of the event to Sue Brickey at: sbrickey@theblade.com.



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