REVIEW: ‘Noises Off!’ – ‘from the ashes of tragedy comes a comedy so hilarious…’
by Shelli Park
If anyone is dedicated to bringing, and keeping, great theatre to Burien it is Maggie Lerrick and Eric Dickman, managing and artistic directors of Burien Actors Theatre.
Many of us know the story of the arson fire at the Annex that forced BAT to find a new venue, mid-run, of their holiday show. What most of us don’t know, or see, are the long hours Maggie and Eric put into arranging people, places and all of those theatre things. These two are dedicated to their art more than most. And they make no income from this. It is, indeed, a labor of love.
Last evening, I had the pleasure of watching the phoenix rise in the old Staples building. From the ashes of tragedy comes a comedy so hilarious and well-done, it seems a miracle considering the timeline BAT had to work with to pull this off.
Well done, love!!
It may be a bit intimidating to walk into the huge, nearly empty, retail space, but have faith. The theatre space created by the set and curtains is enough to create an intimate place in which you can suspend your connection to the outside world and prepare to be entertained.
Mark “Mok” Moser very capably directs this production of doors, sardines, bags, boxes, sheets and tears. “Noises Off” takes place on a two-story, rotating behemoth, designed by Albi Clementi. On this structure a play within a play unfolds. Up, down and all around the action encompasses all, and the hilarity ensues.
“Noises Off” is extremely well cast. This is not a production that comes across as thrown together because real life off-stage drama, like a fire, got in the way. It is tight. The action is natural and flows well, which is important in the timing of comedy. These are really talented actors.
The action begins with a ringing phone. Through an oddly shaped door (ah, the doors) a housekeeper, Mrs. Clackett/Dotty (Rochelle Wyatt) enters with a plate and answers the phone. To balance out the crisp uniform, Wyatt has an amazing head of ginger hair. Her hair is a key part of her character and costume. I love watching her evolution as the play progresses from perfectly happy to, well, you’ll find out. Wyatt’s accent never wavers (many of the accent variations of the British Isles are represented quite successfully in the production).
Lloyd, (Phillip Keiman), is the narcissistic director who literally compares himself to God; sees himself as the gods gift to theatre. He plays with his actors’ hearts and minds. Keiman is perfect in this role. He is perfect at the condescending attitude, but also has a heart. And in the end, he is beat.
Backstage is the chaotic world of Poppy (Natalie Schmidt) and Tim (Steve West). These two would rather avoid the limelight, but they are dedicated to trying to keep the production afloat through it’s endless tour of Britain. Schmidt and West are wonderfully insecure. Schmidt creates her own drama ‘offstage’. She really does try to keep it all in line, even as she wears her heart on her sleeve. West plays the ‘yes man’ to a T. He does what he’s told, but by the end, fed up with the antics, finds his voice.
I’m familiar with Kevin Finney’s work on the BAT stage. It is always a pleasure to watch him work. Here, he is Selsdon, a lackadaisical alcoholic with a mind of his own. His accent could use a bit more consistency, or he might drop the accent entirely. Of the entire show, this is the detail which stuck out.
Lisa Harrington, BAT’s stage manager. The set change at the first and second intermission were beautifully directed by this dynamic young woman. It is a challenging task, and she does a great job guiding. In fact, there are so many parts and pieces (sardines, anyone?) to this play that it wouldn’t be possible without her and her dedicated assistants.
During the intermissions a beautiful soundtrack of Cuban music plays. It is good to have this beat to move to. In order to hear the actors, the heat can’t run. Bring layers and warm yourself by dancing to the music.
And, not at all least, are the talents of Thomas Maier (successful as the doddering, sensitive Englishman), Helen Roundhill (a powerhouse as the shapely, but spacey, tart), Christian Ver (solid and natural in his role, a pleasure), and Jessica Stepka (wonderful! A real joy to watch). I really have nothing but good to say about this cast! The chemistry is hot. They keep up with the ever increasing pace of chaos. They don’t miss a beat, and if they do, they are good, and don’t show it.
Congratulations, BAT. You have proved that: THE SHOW MUST GO ON!!
See this production of “Noises Off!”. If you miss it, you will regret it!
Don’t forget to use our exclusive coupon that will save you $5 off (click image to print coupon):
- Friday – February 21 at 8:00 p.m – Opening Night!
- Saturday – February 22 at 8:00 p.m. – Date Night!
- Sunday – February 23 at 2:00 p.m. – $7 Sunday
- Friday – February 28 at 8:00 p.m.
- Saturday – March 1 at 8:00 p.m.
- Sunday – March 2 at 2:00 p.m.
- Friday – March 7 at 8:00 p.m.
- Saturday – March 8 at 8:00 p.m.
- Sunday – March 9 at 2:00 p.m.
- Friday – March 14 at 8:00 p.m.
- Saturday – March 15 at 8:00 p.m.
- Sunday – March 16 at 2:00 p.m.
- Friday – March 21 at 8:00 p.m.
- Saturday – March 22 at 8:00 p.m.
- Sunday – March 23 at 2:00 p.m.
TICKET PRICES AND PACKAGES:
Tickets at the Box Office:
- General: $20
- Senior/Student: $17
- OPENING NIGHT: Only on Feb. 21, get $5 off each ticket in the purchase if you bring your “favorite” sardine recipe. Good only for purchases at the door.
- DATE NIGHT: Only on Feb. 22 get two-for-one tickets: Get two tickets for the price of one.
- SEVEN DOLLAR SUNDAY: Only on Feb. 23, all tickets are just $7.00! Remember, Sunday is a matinee performance only.
- Dinner and a Show Package: This package includes a two-course meal at Mark Restaurant & Bar plus a ticket to the show; cost is $35 per person. Contact the Mark at 206-241-6275.
The former Staples location is at 14907 4th Ave SW. Look for the spotlights in the sky opening night!