BWW Reviews: MOON OVER BUFFALO Shows Georgetown Palace's Gift for Backstage Comedies
If you saw Georgetown Palace's recent production of Lend Me a Tenor (or if you didn't, for that matter), you have good reason to see Moon Over Buffalo, now in its final week of performances. The similarities between the two shows are easy to pinpoint. They're both by Ken Ludwig. They're both backstage farces. They both involve mistaken identities. They both easily qualify as "door-slamming comedies." (Their sets even have the same number of doors). And they're booth hysterical. The Palace's gift for zany, over the top comedy is back on display with Moon Over Buffalo, and once again, the audience is left in stitches.
The show centers on George and Charlotte Hay, once celebrated but now fading stage stars. Despite their fighting over George's recent infidelity, the two are forced to work together when they find that film producer Frank Capra is in town to catch the matinee performance. If Capra likes what he sees, the Hays might get their big break in Hollywood. Of course, everything that can go wrong does go wrong.
Director Mary Ellen Butler and her brilliant cast all clearly understand the importance of comedic timing. Every moment is cleverly crafted to get a laugh, and the sounds of laughter in the Palace theatre is deafening. Erik Freisinger and Kristin S. Harper are standouts as George and Charlotte. Freisinger is particularly strong in the second act which finds his character in a drunken stupor, and Harper is quite funny when she vividly describes the pains of giving birth to their daughter, Rosalind (the affable Shelby Schisler). Benjamin Slack is adorable as Rosalind's dopey fiancé, and though this marks his first production with the Palace, I would not be surprised to see him back on their stage soon. Nikki Bora also gives a strong performance in a supporting role. Just as much the crowd favorite here as she was in Lend Me a Tenor, Bora is side-splitting as Charlotte's witty, nearly deaf mother.
I will admit I had some initial concerns when The Georgetown Palace announced that their only two straight plays of the 2013-2014 Season would be two comedies by Ken Ludwig, but I'm pleased to say that those concerns have been thrown out the window. If the Palace has the talent to pull of slapstick comedy, shouldn't they get the last laugh?
MOON OVER BUFFALO plays the Georgetown Palace at 810 South Austin Ave, Georgetown 78626 now thru May 4th. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $10-$26. For tickets and information, please visit www.georgetownpalace.com