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Over the moon in 'Buffalo' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Thursday, 18 April 2013 10:36
‘Moon Over Buffalo’ cast from left Ben Forman, Anne Clark, Kent McClary and Deb Shaffer. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
The set for the Black Swamp Players' production of "Moon Over Buffalo" has five doors, and given this is a Ken Ludwig comedy they all get a work out.
Characters are always bursting in, or storming out or even being bound, gagged and stuffed behind them.
All in the interest of a convoluted plot with twists within twists that all get  tied in a bow by the end, leaving the cast spent from all the comic cavorting and the audience spent from laughing.
"Moon Over Buffalo" directed by Bob Hastings opens Friday at 8 p.m. at  First United Methodist Church, Bowling Green. The show continues Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., and then April 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. and April 28 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 and $10 for students and seniors at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St.
With its broad, over-the-top humor the play serves as a fitting showcase for  two stalwart Black Swamp Players stalwarts Kent McClary and Deb Shaffer. They play a couple of  aging thespians, George and Charlotte Hay (and yes, McClary does play George), once however briefly, matinee idols, now touring shabby venues throughout the country. McClary and Shaffer stir up real chemistry as people married so long they know the chinks in each other's emotional armor, comfortable in their low-grade antagonism. Yet  that romantic ember still glows. Neither lets their reduced circumstances dim their egos.
Maybe that's what has pushed their daughter Roz played by Anne Clark, another Players regular, into advertising and away from  her boyfriend Paul (Benjamin Forman), the company's manager. Her new boyfriend Howard (Zachary T. Robb) is a TV weatherman. Robb does a fine job of switching from his bumbling, mousey character into his TV persona declaiming confidently about barometric pressure. He also provides the play, notable for its grappling and flops, its most impressive pratfall, an all-limbs akimbo, several body-length flop.
The other member of the Hay clan is Charlotte's mother played by Becky Hansen, who plays off her lack of hearing and slowness of step to great effect. For all her infirmity though, she continues to be a good match for George's jibes. She plays a wonderful straightwoman. At the end of the first act she sits impassive on the couch amidst a barrage of slamming doors and panicking characters.
All this is initiated by the discovery that George has been having an affair and impregnated a young actress (Emily Waters). The couple's lawyer (Leroy Morgan) shows up, and offers to swoop Charlotte away from all the madness.   
That madness includes the announcement that  Frank Capra announces he'll attend a matinee possibly to cast George and Charlotte in the movie "The Twilight of the Scarlet Pimpernel."
And further complications ensue, culminating with McClary diving, and swooning on the stage, pickled to the gills, as he and the rest of the cast prepare for a matinee performance of "Private Lives," or is it "Cyrano de Bergerac?"
The climax comes as the characters, each true to form, try to salvage some sense of order out of chaos on stage.
Clark shows her Roz is truly George's daughter as she vainly tries to keep the show on track without breaking from her "Private Lives"  character.
That matinee is a disaster, but the Players' "Moon Over Buffalo" is the opposite.
The cast with its mix of veterans and the fresh faces pulls together to pull off all the outrageous antics.
Waters, in her third Players production,  gets to beam or cry and not much else, but brightens the stage whenever she appears. Forman, returning for his second Ludwig farce, has shown himself a solid addition to the Players' company.
The cast's  congeniality is just what keeps audiences attending Black Swamp Players' productions

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