O’Reilly Theater

Through June 29

7 p.m. & 2 p.m.

What would it look like to watch a farce from backstage? A hopelessly unprepared cast, continually banging doors, missed cues, lines and entrances, mysterious props—including a pesky plate of sardines—and many more shenanigans will converge during Pittsburgh Public Theater’s production of Noises Off.

Directing Michael Frayn’s award-winning farce is Broadway veteran Don Stephenson, who was featured in the original cast of A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder, which is currently receiving lots of Tony Award buzz.

With an ingenious twist on the classic “play within a play” model, Noises Off follows a troupe of middling British thespians rehearsing a sex comedy called Nothing On. From the unique perspective of eavesdroppers, the audience will watch (and laugh a lot) as on- and off-stage bedlam ensues among a carnival of outrageous characters, including a dim-witted starlet, a method actor lacking motivation and a leading lady on her last legs.

Set in a modernized 16th-century posset mill, the hilarious comedy also chronicles the deteriorating relationships between cast members as the play falls into disorder before the curtain falls amidst plenty of rip-away costumes, sexual hijinks, split-second timing, slamming doors, ad-libbing and comic dissonance.

Bringing the slapstick story to life is a talented cast displaying both skill and stamina, including Karen Baum (Poppy, the assistant stage manager), Scott Cote (Tim, the stage manager), Preston Dyar (Frederick/Philip/Sheikh), Garrett Long (Belinda/Flavia), Michael MacCauley (Lloyd, the director), Noah Plomgren (Garry/Roger), Ralph Redpath (Selsdon/the burglar), Helena Ruoti (Dotty/Mrs. Clackett), and Laura Woyasz (Brooke/Vicki). The production’s design team includes Michael Schweikardt (scenic), Amy Clark (costumes), Kirk Bookman (lighting), and Zach Moore (sound).

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