Noises Off is a 1992 movie based upon a 1982 play that was centered upon the intertwined backstage lives of the actors in a fictitious play, a romp titled Nothing On.
The movie, directed by Peter Bogdanovich from a screenplay by Marty Kaplan, is quite deliciously complicated at face value, yes. But it’s also surprisingly easy to fall into with laughs with its supremely talented cast as the old-school farce unwinds in its 1 hour, 41 minutes of perfectly timed lines.
I found the DVD by complete mistake, cataloged in the Newly Released And Available section as I called up our MediaBank catalog during a work break on my library work station. When I saw Carol Burnett and Michael Caine listed as principals, I was intrigued. Then when I went down to Christopher Reeve and John Ritter, R.I.P., I knew something was amiss. Add Marilu Henner, Mark Lynn-Baker, Julie Hagerty and Nicolette Sheridan,and I went for the reserve now click. That was enough people that I enjoy watching on my living room flat screen.
And enjoy my dear wife Karen and I did.
The comedy starts with play producer Caine walking out of the Broadway opening, fraught with nerves because he knows what went on for the troupe to get from its opening in the hinterlands to that big night.
Then we see all those pitfalls, gaffes from the audiences eyes and then the privy from backstage.
Hilarious, yes, and tight with tension as well as these actors wishin the story anguish with situations and words on the stage and personalities and life behind the set.
I was glad I decided to roll the dice and turn back the decades for old-school slapstick.