Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Moon Over Buffalo"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2003 by Tony Annicone

"Moon Over Buffalo"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Granite Theatre's latest show is Ken Ludwig's farce, "Moon Over Buffalo". It is set in June, 1953 at the Erlanger Theatre in Buffalo, New York where George and Charlotte Hay are on tour with a repertory consisting of "Cyrano de Bergerac" and Noel Coward's "Private Lives". Fate has given this couple one more shot at starring roles in a movie epic of "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and director Frank Capra himself is en route to catch their matinee performance. One of the problems is George is drunk and isn't sure of which show he is doing, creating a mixture of them both. Hilarious misunderstandings and madcap misadventures ensue all night long during this comic romp. This show sparkles and shines under the expert direction of David Jepson who keeps his 8 member cast constantly on the go, giving the audience nonstop laughter and the cast a well deserved standing ovation as their reward for a job well done.

David infuses the show with much physical humor and shtick to bring it to life.Some of the sight gags include using Cyrano's nose as a phallic symbol, a putting on of trousers by someone else which looks like a humping scene and the many pratfalls down the stairs and off the stage taken by Michael Thurber as the drunken George, make this into the hysterical show it should be. David's set also lends itself to this farce with 5 doors and a stage built on the actual upstage so the audience can see the "Cyrano" and "Private Lives" segments. He is helped by stage manager, Judy Staelens who keeps things moving smoothly with lights and sound by Tai Scavetta and costumes by Colleen Hicks. Kudos to all who made this the masterpiece it truly is.

The megalomaniac, George is played perfectly by Michael Thurber. His portrayal is a comic gem from the first moment he appears to the closing scene of the show. His drunken monologue is one of the best around. Michael's rubber legs especially doing a near split without missing a beat is excellent and his line delivery is superb. The sword fight with Charlotte near the start of the show is breathtaking, too. Beth Jepson is fantastic as Charlotte. Her one liners and constant put downs of her snooty overbearing husband are right on target. Beth and Michael play this manic, over the top couple expertly, making this a must see show. An added comic delight is Nancy Pinto as Charlotte's deaf mother, Ethel who refuses to wear her hearing aid. This deaf woman keeps messing things up and confusing the other characters by sending them on a wild goose chase. Nancy is wonderful in this role and one wonders how she can keep a straight face with all her funny lines.

Christina Wallace plays Rosalind, the daughter. She gives a strong portrayal of the girl who wants to escape from the madness of the theatre. (Or does she really want to stay?) Christina gives this girl the needed strength to pull it off. Keith Brayne plays Howard, her weatherman fiancee.He is a hoot and wears a tight light blue suit. Keith has a rubber face which can change expressions at the drop of a hat. His frightened expressions and quivering voice heighten his hilarious performance. 23 year old Jason Andoscia plays Paul, George's stage manager who gets much abuse hurled upon him during the show. In only his second performance on stage, having appeared in "The Tempest" at North Eastern Connecticut Theatre, Jason does well with the physicality of his role as well as with his line delivery, doing a great job as Paul. Recent URI graduate, Jennifer Kimmerlee plays the Betty Boop voiced pregnant actress, Eileen. She runs in and out of the doors, telling George what is going on with the soon to be baby. One of the funniest parts is when she tells George, her muscular, hairdresser Marine brother is hunting him down with a gun. There is a surprising twist with her character at the end of the show which will leave you in stiches. The last member of the cast is Bob Mignarri who is their agent who wants to run off with Charlotte. What will happen to the Hays with all the craziness surrounding them? The best way to find out is by going to the Granite Theatre to see a splendid production of "Moon Over Buffalo" with its topnotch cast. Another opening night treat is the luscious food prepared by Irene Bessette. The ravenous crowd devoured the food so quickly I wasn't able to observe all the treats this time but the ones I was able to sample included scrumtious cannollis, blueberry filled cake which melted in your mouth, assorted cheeses, crackers and spiral ham as well as Irene's chocolate cake decorated with a crescent moon over a buffalo. (Some day I will get Irene to give me some of her recipes for her melt in your mouth cakes.) So for a fun filled evening in an airconditioned theater on a humid summer night be sure to catch this show at the Granite in Westerly.

"Moon Over Buffalo" (8 August - 7 September)
THE GRANITE THEATRE
1 Granite Street, WESTERLY, RHODE ISLAND
1 (401) 596- 2341

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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