Noises Off!



The film follows the concept of a play within a play, in this case a dreadful sex farce entitled Nothing On— the type of production in which young girls run about in their underwear, old men drop their trousers, and many doors continually open and shut. The setting has been transplanted from the backcountry of Great Britain to Des Moines, Iowa, where a second-rate theatrical troupe is preparing to perform the Broadway-bound play under the direction of Lloyd Dallas. Among the cast members are fading star Dotty Otley, feature actor Garry Lejuene, insecure matinee hearthrob Frederick Fellowes, myopic sexy leading lady Brooke Ashton, second female lead Belinda Blair, and alcoholic character actor Selsdon Mawbray. Frantically working behind the scenes are Tim Allgood and Poppy Taylor.

The film opens with the final dress rehearsal prior to opening night, with the cast still forgetting lines, missing cues, and mishandling props. Lloyd is reduced to cajoling, yelling at, and pleading with them to get things right. Complicating matters are the personal problems and backstage relationships that have fostered jealousy and petty squabbling and intruded upon any professionalism this motley crew can muster. As the company works its way to New York City, the eccentricities of the cast come to the fore and the performances on the road dissolve into complete chaos and total catastrophe both on and backstage.


What a concept this film has! Who would have ever thought of bringing to light all the behind the scenes antics that can come from a dress rehearsal.

Michael Caine gives a brilliant take in the role of Lloyd. I’m more familiar with Caine’s more serious works, so to see him in a role like this really shows us that he can act.

Christopher Reeve is best known for being Superman, but a little known fact is that he has done other projects. This is one of said projects, and he doesn’t too half bad in it.

Carol Burnett, John Ritter, Marilu Henner, and Nicollette Sheridan all give wonderful performances..Ritter especially.

The quick witted dialogue in this film really move the film along, as does the frantic antics of the cast going between their stage characters and the actors portraying them.

I am curious as to what the actual play was like, but if the movie is any indication, it must have been impressive. Since I can’t see the play currently, though, the film will do nicely, and I recommend it to all of you.

4 out of 5 stars


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