Sheri Warren and Malcolm Jae O’Shea rehearse a scene from “Noises Off,” the play within a play that debuts Oct. 11 at the Malt House Theater in Burlington. (Photo by Ed Nadolski)

Haylofters’ play offers comedic peek behind the curtain

By Ed Nadolski

Editor in Chief

The Haylofters will present a play within a play this month when the Burlington community theater stages “Noises Off.”

The play, which is slated for an eight-show run Oct. 11 through 14 and 18 through 21, is a comedic farce that takes a look at the inner workings of a theatrical production, according to director Don Fresen.

The play, which has had multiple runs on Broadway and was made into a film in 1982 starring Michael Caine, Carol Burnett and John Ritter, is written by Michael Frayn.

“Noise Off” captures a touring theatre troupe’s production of “Nothing On” in three stages: dress rehearsal, the opening performance, and a performance towards the end of a debilitating run, according to a synopsis provided by Fresen. “The audience gets a window into the inner workings of theatre behind the scenes, progressing from flubbed lines and missed cues in the dress rehearsal to mounting friction between cast members in the final performance.”

Out of control egos, memory loss and passionate affairs contribute to the comedic theatrical mess, according to Fresen.

“It’s ridiculously hilarious,” he said prior to Tuesday’s dress rehearsal. “I’ve wanted to do this show for a long time.”

The cast, he said, brings multiple talents and experiences, which makes for a rich presentation.

“It’s honestly one of the best casts I’ve ever worked with,” Fresen said.

The principal characters in the play include Lloyd Dallas, played by Malcolm Jae O’Shea, the director of the play; Dotty (Sheri Warren), a middle-aged TV star who gets top billing; Garry (Jesse Hurst), the play’s leading man who is dating Dotty; and Brooke (Julie Schmidt), an inexperienced actress involved in a love triangle with other members of the production.

The Haylofters cast is rounded out by James Houser, who plays Freddy; Sondra Gesselle, who plays Belinda; Tara Tetrozelli, who plays Poppy; Jim Gesselle, who plays Tim and Rob King, who plays Selsdon.

Tickets for the show – at $13 each for opening night and $15 for all other shows – are available at the Coffeehouse at Chestnut and Pine in Burlington or online at

Show times are 7:30 p.m. for Thursday through Saturday performances and 2:30 p.m. for Sunday matinees. All performances take place at the Malt House Theater, 109 Main St., Burlington.

For additional show information visit

See the Oct. 4 edition of the Burlington Standard Press for a full cast photo.