Farce requires a delicate balancing act. Do too much and you slip into melodrama; do too little and the whole thing falls flat. Fortunately, the St. Bartís Players production of Moon Over Buffalo pretty much pulls it off, with a few missteps here and there. But itís certainly much better then the 1995 Broadway version.
Set backstage at
The play is filled with such devices as mistaken identity, miscommunication, sudden eruptions of passion, slamming doors, offstage crashes, innocent souls caught up in the mayhem and spots where the audience is left to imagine the worst. The problem is that Ludwigís script is rather lazy and it's up to the cast to take what's basically B-grade material and make it shine. Fortunately, theyíre up to the task. †
This play requires a directorís firm hand and Feehanís guidance falters somewhat. Much of the first act needs to be played faster (a bit where a pair of pants keep ripping is not as nearly funny as it could be). Thereís also one scene (when Roz and Paul meet) thatís played so broadly itís as if the performers are winking at the audience about the absurdity of the situation instead of being in the moment.
Berger and Blomberg play off each other perfectly, though
each goes a bit too far over the top at points, but theyíre able to bring the
characters under control before long. Strauss is nicely dull in a thankless
role, while Hokans is endlessly watchable
as a levelheaded girl reduced to a screaming madwoman once she returns to the
life she once forsworn. Veteran actress Jean
Streit is good as
Copyright 2007 Judd Hollander
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