An entertaining show, from set design to art direction, costumes to make up, from lights to sound, Noises off was simply a marvellous display
By Sadaf Pervez
t was curtain time. Noises off was off to a frantic start with slamming doors, clothes tossed all over the place, utter chaos, high jinks, subtle variations and comic moments that drew involuntary laughs – it’s a piece of theatre about theatre; a rare glimpse of what goes on backstage – the actors on stage were apparently rehearsing a play called Nothing on.
Nothing goes right in act one; it’s a dress rehearsal of the play they are planning to stage – the actors forget their lines, make wrong entrances, and scream at each other while the set rolls on frantically in the background. It’s not going well, the director, Lloyd Dallas (played by Omair Rana) is annoyed and keeps screaming at the stage from the back of the audience (which actually amazed and enthralled the hall). The cast keeps forgetting their lines and missing their cues.
Lights dim; act two starts with the entire set revolving around at 360 degree angle – I understand, to better tell a story from the backstage. It was fun to see a rotating set, which was perhaps a first, certainly for the audience and probably for Pakistani theatre too. Act two is about the deteriorating personal relationships, the characters back stabbing each other, leading to confusion and off-stage shenanigans that was actually quite entertaining to watch and drew quite a few laughs from the audience. Act two also set the stage for the final act – the enactment of Nothing on.
By act three, the actors were quite desperate to be finally done with the play. Dottie (played by Ayesha Alam) actually made a few mistakes during her opening scene, dropping her popcorn, forgetting her lines and had to literally improvise on her feet, the rest of the characters in turn made a series of mistakes trying to play along, while Brooke kept going with her original lines, not realizing the play was changing right before her eyes and the original lines were no longer appropriate! It became quite a comical extravaganza; a literal comedy of errors that drew quite a lot of laughs from the audience.
An entertaining show, from set design to art direction, costumes to make up, from lights to sound, Noises off was simply a marvellous display; Dottie (Ayesha Alam) was quite dotty; clad in pink and white; she delivered the witty dialogue with perfect timing. Dallas (Omair Rana) was also a delight to watch in the role of frustrated director and womanizer while the rest of the characters also did a good job including Fazeelat Aslam as Poppy, Ian Eldred as Garry, Salman Naseer as Freddy, and Zainab Ahmed as Brooke and Mina Malik as Belinda. Wasiq Qadeer (producer of the play) had a reason to smile by the end of the show too.
A few might not like the farcical nature of the play but it made a pleasant change from the usual run of the mill plays. It was indeed a farce and quite fun to watch. It has my vote. Not bad, not bad at all. ■