Theater Review: Very Enjoyable ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ Forced Into Disappointing Early Close
BROOKFIELD — An exceedingly well played farce, Ken Ludwig’s Moon Over Buffalo opened — and unfortunately also closed — last weekend at The Brookfield Theater for the Arts. The quick closing had nothing to do with the actors or the director, but everything to do with the current state of affairs.
With this production, Director Jane Farnol extended her magical touch to the comical after much success with the classics. With a fabulous cast to boot, this show was a just the tonic for those who were able to attend any of the March 13-15 performances before the production and theater closed due to COVID-19 concerns.
Aging, married actors, on a moderately successful career path, find themselves touring a repertory of well-established theater fare.
George and Charlotte Hay (played by Bob Lussier and Vicki Sosbe) live for an audience, traveling endlessly to perform for one. It is in Buffalo that the wheels seem to come off their marital wagon.
Both are caught up in affairs of the straying heart, yet they love their work and totally get each other’s eccentricities.
Daughter Rosalind (Brianna Bowman) shows up at the theater, unannounced, with her fiancé Howard (Sean Latasa). Having abandoned the peripatetic and self-involved life of the working actor, Rosalind has settled for a weatherman to wed and marketing to earn her living.
All these choices are much to the chagrin of her aging grandmother, Ethel (Dandy Barrett). Although Grandma is hard of hearing, she does not appear to miss a trick. Her droll laced sarcasm is constant, and very funny.
Paul Singer (Thomas Samuels), former boyfriend of the lovely Rosalind, is an agent of sorts for the Hays. His enduring love for Rosalind is evident.
Rounding out this troupe are the partners in infidelity, Eileen (Julie-Anne Brand) and a dapper Richard Maynard (Christopher Bird).
The intricacies and exactness required for farce to succeed were executed to perfection. As the leads, Sosbe and Lussier were solid and completely in their element. They maintained a fevered pitch with broad comedy which was hilarious. These two are skilled performers with a special chemistry, making this performance a treat.
The triangle of Bowman, Samuels and Latasa made for a lot of laughs and a sweet “aww” as love came around. Scene stealer Dandy Barrett was a hoot as the cynical Grandma Ethel.
Julie-Anne Brand’s Eileen fortunately finds love apart from the adulteress George, and she deserves it for all her sweet charm.
Christopher Bird played his Richard with dignity and just a dash of confusion.
All were excellent in their roles.
Set designer Andy Okell again built a set which was authentic to the circumstances, in this case the back stage/dressing area of an old regional theater in a small city. Shabby, yet functional, and featuring all the doors required to stage a farce, it was perfect.
As mentioned earlier, Moon Over Buffalo has closed. But do stay tuned to what these exceptional actors and director are up to next.