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Curtain up, lights on for TheatreWorks' 'Noises Off'

March 24, 2011

By KAREN THOMPSON - Bulletin Staff Writer

“Nothing On” may be a flop, but TheatreWorks’ “Noises Off” was a success at its preview show on Wednesday night.

The TheatreWorks Community players previewed the hit farce “Noises Off” to a nearly sold-out crowd, according to Barbara Parker of TheatreWorks.

“It’s great turnout despite the weather,” she said, referring to a severe storm that moved through the area shortly before showtime.

The show features a group of actors putting on a flop comedy called “Nothing On,” but most of the drama seems to go on behind the scenes. It includes a love triangle, slapstick, character confusion and plenty of door-slamming.

Wednesday’s performance had the audience laughing through tears at some points.

"It’s really clever dialogue,” said Lynn Ward of Martinsville. “This is the first time I’ve seen this particular play ... and it’s hilarious.”

“I like the over-the-top acting,” said Rachel Pickens, a theater student from Averett University, referring to the acting in the play-within-a-play. She and members of the school’s acting group came to the black box theater for the first performance of “Noises Off.”

“We’ve been to many of these shows (at TheatreWorks) and they’re great,” said Kellie Geiger. “I like the enthusiasm” of the actors and that the play features local talent.

The show is high energy despite a relatively small cast of nine players, although Parker said the intricate set serves as a 10th cast member “and the sardines are 11th,” she said, referring to a gag in the show.

The three acts of “Noises Off” show the degeneration of “Nothing On.” Act One shows the actors frantically trying to pull the play together the night before its opening. In Act Two, the play is seen from backstage a month later. In Act Three, the audience sees a performance near the end of the show’s run.

Arguments and tension between the cast members increase as the play goes on, and as “Nothing On” enters its final act, “they’re ready to kill each other, and the show completely falls apart,” Parker said. “It’s hilarious.”

Performances are set at 7:30 for tonight through Saturday, and there will be a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Shows also will be at 7:30 on March 31 - April 2.

Tickets for the upcoming shows are available, Parker said. Adult tickets are $10 and children’s tickets are $5. Tickets can be purchased online at twcp.net or piedmontarts.org; by calling 632-3221; or at the door.




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