After finishing their 14th year with a rip-roaring “Drowsy Chaperone”, The Metropolis Performing Arts Centre started season 15 with a “rental show”, Ken Ludwig’s farce “Moon over Buffalo” that has some laughs, but is not up to the new standard they have set. This is one of Ludwig’s true farce comedies, with the doors and stairs and lots of running gags, drinking bits, mistaken identities and let’s us into the lives of actors who are a bit past their prime as they tread the boards in Buffalo New York, doing “Private Lives” and Cyrano” in rep. presented by Eclectic Full Contact Theatre company on the stage of the Metropolis with a clever set(Pat Iven) which may be the best part of the production, I found the cast to be a little uncomfortable with the roles they were cast in. Actors who do a Ludwig play must truly let themselves go, or it doesn’t work.
Andrew Pond, who I usually enjoy watching on Chicago area stages handles the difficult and strenuous role as George, with a little trepidation and Lisa Savegnano, as his wife Charlotte, seems to be in the wrong play. This makes for a difficult path for the audience to follow, as these are the stars of the show. Actors who have lost their glow, but are hoping that when a major film director calls, that when he arrives, their lives will be changed. This character is Frank Capra (he never arrives), but they think he has in a series of funny mistaken identities involving their daughter’s fiancé Howard( Ryan Jozaitas almost gets this role right), but I think the director of this production David Belew may not have helped him in development of the young man, who is in Buffalo to meet his new in-laws.
Daughter, Rosalind (the perky Michelle Ziccarelli), was a part of the company and dated another member of the company, Paul (Jeff Irlbeck) but there was no chemistry between these two, ever! Charlotte’s mother (played to perfection by Nancy Kolton) and the young ingénue Eileen (solidly handled by Katie Hunter) along with good friend, lawyer Richard (Rob Reinalda) are the shining lights to making this play have some realistic characters. The audience appeared to be restless from the start of the show. It takes a great deal of time to get into the story line as it opens with us watching the actors doing “Cyrano” and then breaking, but they are not on a set that would be for “Cyrano” and that was confusing.
In fact, a lot of the storyline is confusing and the way it played out did not help. They ran up and down stairs and through doors, only to come out through different doors on different levels. This was eerie and again, I could see people asking what is going on? of those seated with them. Yes, there are some very funny scenes and while I have seen much better productions of this particular play, I think this was just the wrong play for this company to bring to the bedroom community of Arlington Heights. I would be very interested to hear from other on what they felt. Was this an off night? Or just the wrong play for the room?
“Moon Over Buffalo” will continue at The Metropolis Performing Arts Centre located at 111 West Campbell (right in the heart of “downtown”) through August 16th with performances as follows:
Fridays 8 p.m.
Saturdays 7 p.m.
Sundays 3 p.m.
Tickets are $38 and can be purchased at the box office, by calling 847-577-2121 or online at www.MetropolisArts.com
Plenty of FREE parking is available and there are some great and inexpensive dining experiences in walking distance from the theater.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Moon Over Buffalo”