Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Philadelphia

Moon over Buffalo
People's Light
Review by Rebecca Rendell


Peter DeLaurier, Mary Elizabeth Scallen,
Kevin Bergen, Julianna Zinkel, and Marcia Saunders

Photo by Mark Garvin
Moon over Buffalo is a theater lover's farce, and director Pete Pryor's production at People's Light is a thoroughly enjoyable comic romp. Near misses, slammed doors, mistaken identity, and romantic misunderstandings all play out backstage with a small repertory theater company in upstate New York. Acclaimed playwright Ken Ludwig gleefully references favorites, from The Tempest to Singin' in the Rain, and suffuses the script with his love of the stage. Pryor keeps the pace quick, and the talented cast delivers lots of laughs.

It seems like George and Charlotte Hay (David Ingram and Mary Elizabeth Scallen) are professionally and personally past their prime. Reduced to performing Cyrano de Bergerac and Private Lives at a rinky-dink theater in Buffalo, the once famous actors are on the brink of divorce when they find out a famous Hollywood director is coming to see their next performance. It is the chance of a lifetime, but things quickly start to spin out of control. With the help of her visiting daughter and costume-mending mother, Charlotte does her best to make sure that she and George take advantage of their last big shot.

Ingram is very funny and convincingly intoxicated as the stalwart Mr. Hay. Ingram plays a game of rock paper scissors against Paul (the always amusing Kevin Bergen) that had the whole audience in hysterics at the performance I attended. Scallen also gets some big laughs as the dramatic and increasingly frenetic Mrs. Hay. Unfortunately, the pair does not have great chemistry, and the scenes where they play opposite each other are a bit flat. Marcia Sanders is fantastic as Charlotte's mother Ethel, an old battle-ax who lives to bust George's chops. But the funniest performance might be Christopher Patrick Mullen's deliciously awkward and anxious Howard.

Yoshinori Tanokura's set design facilitates the action on stage and has an authentic backstage feel. The costumes are luxurious and spot on, thanks to designer Marla Jurglanis. Pryor's production of Moon over Buffalo may not be particularly innovative, but it is safe to say you will leave with a smile on your face.

Moon over Buffalo runs through Sunday, August 13, 2017, in the Leonard C. Haas Stage at People's Light located at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA 19355. For tickets, call 610.644.3500 or visit peopleslight.org.

Cast:
George Hay: David Ingram*
Charlotte Hay: Mary Elizabeth Scallen*
Ethel: Marcia Saunders*
Rosalind: Julianna Zinkel*
Howard: Christopher Patrick Mullen*
Eileen: Tabitha Allen*
Paul: Kevin Bergen*
Richard: Peter DeLaurier*

Crew:
Director Pete Pryor*
Set Design Yoshinori Tanokura
Costume Designer Maria J. Jurglanis
Lighting Designer John Hoey
Sound Designer Christopher Colucci
Dramaturg Gina Pisasale
Production Stage Manager Kate McSorley Fossner*
Line Producer Abigail Adams*

*Member, Actor's Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors & Stage Managers


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