Perhaps only Buffalonians didn’t enjoy “Moon Over Buffalo.” The play is set in the green room of a theater in Buffalo, and certainly made some of its laughs poking fun at the city and its residents. For the rest of us, the Over the Ledge Theatre Co.’s production was thoroughly delightful.
“Moon Over Buffalo” is an outlandish farce with an outlandish cast of characters who are hard not to be outright delighted by. Every link in the chain of actors joined on the Ledge’s Playhouse stage was solid.
LeAnn Dethlefsen played Charlotte Hay and David Dunckel played George Hay — the thespians at the helm of a wild theater troupe. The pair offered great acting as once-great actors. Anna Szabo showed her own acting finesse as their daughter, Rosalind. I can say that each of the Hays in the play conveyed an array of moods in talented ways.
Jeff Kennedy’s Paul and Diana Lett’s Ethel made their supporting roles equally marvelous and distinctive. Their performances of more incidental members of the troupe were nothing inconsequential. Paul was a sometimes goofy, passionate, athletic, loveable and insecure egotist. Ethel was the hard-of-hearing, matronly and grumpy grandmother with a tendency to make herself heard. Kennedy’s lanky meanderings and Lett’s affable gruffness were both appealing.
Zach Riley as Howard — Rosalind’s less-often-seen fiancé — made each of his appearances a treat. Riley earned some of the biggest laughs in the comedy filled with puns, wordplay, slapstick, sexual incidents and comedic accidents — with a skill that wasn’t accidental.
Featured actors Jim Coyer as Richard the attorney and Ja’Nay Duncan as the actress Eileen completed the skilled lineup. Each gave smooth and steady performances in a turbulent play.
The entire cast frequently entered and exited five working and slamable doors. Such precise timing — as well as expertly delivered lines — was surely attributed to Mary Job’s direction. Her “Moon Over Buffalo” had perfect pacing and actors with exquisite mannerisms.
The cast also shifted easily into multiple and often elaborate costumes and footwear that were created superbly by Lark Burger. Jeff Miller designed the wonderfully detailed set, complete with working stairs, a brick wall visible through an opened door and particulars, like a horizontal bar door opener. Crystal Carson designed multifarious props that included a period phone, realistic swords, an old style sewing basket and Cyrano de Bergerac’s nose.
An uncredited Joe Dickson was responsible for lighting and spots that were always in the right spot. Job provided stills and theater posters that covered the walls and added a nostalgic charm that suited Ken Ludwig’s comedy set in 1953.
“Moon Over Buffalo” was a theatrical show that pleased the assorted actors, locals and critics I saw in the audience who love good theater. That included this reviewer who once lived in Schenectady, New York — but who never lived in Buffalo.
“Moon Over Buffalo”
Sept. 7-17 Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets start at $10 The Ledges Playhouse 137 Fitzgerald Park Drive, Grand Ledge Overtheledge.org