Written by Alina Mae Wilson
Don’t let the fanciful title fool you. Moon Over Buffalo is not a tragic and love-ridden romance piece. It’s a comedic narrative focusing mainly on former stars George and Charlotte Hay. George and Charlotte are a striking couple working as the stars in their touring company currently stationed in Buffalo, New York. Amid a vast argument, their daughter Rosalind arrives at the theatre to introduce them to her new fiancé, while at the same time, the famous film director Frank Capra calls to announce his plans to view one of their shows. The jokes and, ultimately, the play’s plot centered on the bickering and confusion brought on by these events.
The audience is bombarded with chaos for a large portion of the show. “Where is so and so? Where did they go? Which way?” When certain players are searching for each other, they run on and off the stage, slamming doors, into the hallway, this way, that way, and just missing each other by a moment. While it may have been hard to stage, it resembles nothing as closely as those old cartoons with illustrated characters doing the same thing. It wasn’t enjoyable than, either. Almost the entire show’s first act consists of the actors giving up any potential for a surprise joke simply because of how stiff and calculated everything is. The expressions vary but are somehow stilted, as though the performers are going through mental checklists that tell them exactly how each word should be stressed. Each eyebrow raised, as opposed to having actual reactions that can be attributed to another person’s action. A few pauses seemed too well-timed, as though the players were anticipating laughter. It is these pauses and excessive tension in the conversations that take away the comedic surprise.
When the characters were trying to sort out confusing matters, they got noticeably less tense onstage, probably because they were yelling at one another often. Watching them try to figure out their next course of action is delightful. Special mention goes to Nicole Gerardi (Eileen), whose moments in the throes of stress are great to watch. Jennifer Johnson (Rosalind) is also a lot of fun in this, mainly because she has good chemistry with everyone she interacts with. Everyone backstage deserves credit. Diann Smith, Wayne Sheffield, and Jim Huffman did a lovely job with the costumes, tech, and set design.
Attic Community Theater 2834 S. Fairview, Santa Ana, CA
Jan 9 – Jan 25
Tickets at this link :