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‘Noises Off’ at Georgia Shakespeare

2011 August 9

Photo: Jen Hofstetter: Pictured: Carolyn Cook, Mark Cabus, Tess Malis Kincaid, Ann Marie Gideon and Joe Knezevich

Just after reassuring a friend from New York that you really can find the caliber of theater you see on Broadway right here in Atlanta comes a show that proves it.

It would be hard to find anywhere a production of “Noises Off” anywhere that tops the production now playing at Georgia Shakespeare. The cast and the set are utterly spectacular.

While this is not one of my favorite plays, probably because I am not a fan of farcical comedy, the actors playing these outlandish characters play them so truthfully, they are a pleasure to watch.

Like so many Shakespeare productions, “Noises Off” features a play within a play. The plot revolves around a theater company that is putting on a play called “Nothing On” and features the mishaps, two-timing and sordid affairs that go on behind the scenes.

The acting is so fantastic in this show that even the most over-the-top character, Brooke (Ann Marie Gideon), a bimbo who forgets her lines, wears risqué costumes and can’t even do yogic breathing correctly, is performed so truthfully and in-the-moment that she is actually believable. In one scene in which the cast is in rehearsal, the director (Chris Kayser) lambastes her for forgetting her lines repeatedly. Later, during a performance when so many mishaps occur on stage that the entire cast improvises, except for Brooke, who sticks to the script no matter that her lines make no sense considering the circumstances.

Scenic designer Kat Conley has created a true-to-life front- and back-of the-house set that moves effortlessly from act to act. While “Noises Off” will not make my list of favorite plays, this production stands at the top of the list on greatest productions in Atlanta. It is a must see.

If you want to see what great Broadway shows are like, you need to go no further than Georgia Shakespeare.

“Noises Off” by Michael Frayne runs through Aug. 14. The cast includes some of the finest actors in Atlanta: Mark Cabus, Carolyn Cook, Joe Knezevich, Tess Malis Kincaid, Allan Edwards, Scott Warren, and Caitlin McWethy.

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