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'Noises Off' at the Guthrie. Promo image

Recommended

Noises Off

Every Tue., Wed., Thu., Fri., and Sat. from Oct. 27-Dec. 15
7:30 p.m.
Every Sun. from Oct. 28-Dec. 16
7 p.m.
$29-$78
Theater

Playwright Michael Frayn’s Noises Off is the rare farce that hilariously skewers its subject without betraying an underlying affection. Being that the play’s subject is the riotous process of creating theater, it’s only natural that Frayn would have an ear for the comic chaos that erupts when a motley company attempts to mount the ill-advised sex farce Nothing On. Stocked with a hapless cast of mismatched personalities (including a faded television star, an inarticulate leading man, a talentless ingénue, and an insufferably insecure supporting actor) under the guidance of an exasperated director, the farce-within-a-farce is spiraling out of control even before the performers begin sleeping with one another. The progressive toll of wounded egos and inflamed jealousies builds through three distinct acts, each of which is set at a later stage in the doomed play’s progression, from the lackluster dress rehearsal through a disastrous performance. Conveying something so absurdly wretched, however, takes an enormous amount of skill, which is precisely why this Meredith McDonough-directed production features a top-notch ensemble consisting of Guthrie regulars and Broadway vets including Sally Wingert and Nathan Keepers.