(Charles Isherwood’s article appeared in The New York Times, 1/14; via Pam Green.)

“Where are we?” asks the dazed-looking woman in a maid’s uniform, her voice throaty with fatigue. Looking around with confused wonder, she seems to have just awakened from a yearlong nap, or gone through a carwash without a car.

Here are a few clues, Dear: We are on the stage of a provincial theater somewhere in England. We are in the immediate vicinity of several plates of sardines. Also nearby are several doors, grown rickety from serial slamming.

As many theatergoers will by now have guessed, this woozy figure, an actress by the name of Dotty Otley, here played by the glorious Andrea Martin, is smack in the dizzying middle of “Noises Off,” the heady, headlong and (sorry, alliteration haters) altogether hilarious farce by Michael Frayn, which opened on Thursday at the American Airlines Theater, providing generous doses of heat-generating laughter as the winter chill finally sets in.


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