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`NOISES OFF' A DELIGHTFULLY FUNNY ROMP

In such a complicated piece as "Noises Off" it's actually commendable just to keep your place as an actor and a feat to finish the play without any major upsets.

The UVSC cast pulls that off and then some with a nice degree of flair.Despite the rigorous demand for precisely timed lines and multiple entrances and exits, the show keeps right on beat throughout the three acts.

The flow and momentum are nicely paced and build well, interrupted only by two slightly overlong intermissions.

Direction has obviously been meticulous as there's not a line dropped (that's not supposed to be dropped) or an entrance missed (that isn't part of the story).

The rotating set - which does double duty as a backstage view to itself - is clever and serves its purpose without clutter although there are six doors and a window constantly being pulled open and shut.

Lighting and enhanced sound, especially in the second act, help create the illusion of an onstage production going ahead despite the series of subdramas going on behind the scenes.

All of the characters deserve plaudits. It's remarkable just keeping the action straight. But a couple are standouts.

Brooke Ashton/Vicki, played by Julie Ann Ingram, is an unbelievably dumb airhead actress who nevertheless tries singlehandedly to save the show "in a show" as it's falling apart in the third act. She stays in character remarkably well, from searching the floor for her contact lens in slip and nylons to lying back flat in the way between scenes to relax.

Tim Allgood/the stage manager, played by Tom Hindmarsh, steals his scenes. His gawkish demeanor in the first act and sheer stage fright in the third are convincing and funny. He's welcome each time he appears on stage.

Some choice moments are created by Selsdon Mowbray/burglar played by Steve Stout. Mowbray is a barely recovered alcoholic who wanders off every other minute, leaving the others constantly uneasy about his reliability.

This play deserves and needs a larger audience than that which greeted the opening night crew.

For one thing, it's not so often done as some others that get tiresome.

There are many hearty laughs and a good amount of not-so-subtle innuendo to be enjoyed here and a tremendous number of chuckles. With a larger audience, hilarity would most certainly take over.

This is one of the college's more ambitious undertakings in comedy, and it's well worth the ticket price. Catch "Noises Off" before it goes away.