The final production of the 2016-2017 school year for the University of Montana’s College of Visual Arts and School of Theatre & Dance opened on campus on April 19, and it was the perfect closing number for a season of great works.
The play, written by Michael Frayn, has always been a favorite of theatre geeks and participants, and this production pulled out all the stops to make it especially meaningful. Director Pamyla Stiehl, with help from Scenic Designer Alessia Carpoca, Costume Designer Linda Guilis, Lighting Director Mark Dean, and Audio Designer Cole Milligan, perfectly capture the spirit and intent of the playwright’s vision, while the stage managing job of Sophia Holter brought it all together on stage, all to the delight of the packed house.
The chemistry between the nine members of the cast was truly evident in this magical farce, which depends on that chemistry in order to pull off the multitude of pratfalls and physical comedy that make Noises Off the penultimate homage to the theatre. Putting on a great show while looking totally inept takes a great deal of talent and skill, and this cast excelled in both. Christina Heagney as Dotty Otley, Ryson Sparacino as Lloyd Dallace, Dillon Westhoff as Garry Lejeune, Christina Tripp as Poppy Norton-Taylor and Natalie Johnson as Brooke Ashton were all hilarious in their featured roles, especially the slapstick antics of Johnson, who had to be spot perfect In her ability to look inept. They were truly complemented by Tyson Gerhardt Hirsch as Frederick Fellowes Genevieve Barlow as Belinda Blair, David Mills-Low as Selsdon Mowbray and Curen Feliciani as Tim Allgood in their supporting roles. Feliciani truly stood out as the bumbling stage hand and understudy for the hapless production, the play within the play, Nothing On.
If you need a good physical release from your stress, combined with side-splitting laughter, then Noises Off is the perfect place for you. The production will continue at 7:30 p.m. on April 22, 26, 27, 28 and 29 and at 2 p.m. on April 23 and 30. Tickets are available at the UMArts Box Office or online at umt.edu/theatredance. We highly recommend this production and can hardly wait to see what’s in store for the next season.