On a recent chilly January in NYC, I had the opportunity to grab a friend and catch a Saturday matinee of “Noises Off” (basically, killing time while waiting for my girlfriend, who was at the New York Times Travel Show). I hadn't been to a Broadway show in a while, and being a lover of all things funny, I was hoping to spend a couple of hours laughing at the wacky remake of the 1983 Broadway show, the classic play-within-a-play scenario. We settled into our seats and as the curtain was raised, there was a large smattering of applause for the elaborate set (a two-level Victorian home with stairs, multiple doors and a picture window). Not exactly understanding what the enthusiasm was about for the sets, I, of course, joined in. The second round of applause I understood completely, as Andrea Martin (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “Second City Television”) came onstage as a housekeeper. The play revolved around a theater troupe comprised of a bunch of misfit, unprepared and slightly dim-witted actors rehearsing for the opening of a show. The character of the director added to the fun by playing his part almost entirely from an aisle in the theater.
This was slapstick at its finest, with an ensemble cast that even managed to make a plate of sardines seem hysterical. The actors wouldn't let up arguing with each other, forgetting their lines and forgetting where to stand. Why is human error so hilarious to us? Most likely because we all can relate. At any rate, everyone in the audience seemed to relate, indeed: during both intermissions I overheard people quoting lines from the show and breaking into peals of laughter once again.
This was more than a laugh a minute. If you are looking for some comic relief from the mid-winter blues (or even if you are not), get on with it, and see “Noises Off.”
» Noises Off, American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St., 212.719.1300