Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Moon Over Buffalo

Moon Over Buffalo
The Beverly Theatre Guild

Chicago's oldest community theatre, the Beverly Theatre Guild, wrapped up their 2007-08 season this weekend with their production of Moon Over Buffalo. The impressive Beverly Art Center housed the production with a medium sized audience on Mother's Day.

The subject matter of the comedy was perfect for the seasoned company and their patrons. A farce of doors and mistaken identities was perfect for a light hearted afternoon with one's dear mother. The script had a few weak points (particularly a awkward onstage scene with a drunken character in front of the audience that goes on for far too long) that make some of the dramatic turns a little tedious.

The production often had problems coping with the large stage as the majority of the play's action takes place backstage of a Buffalo theatre. Crosses were often too long to support their lines and made for slow pacing.

I hate to come down on anyone, but there were some directorial inconsistencies that were unforgivable: characters remarking about onstage action/blocking that was not happening and two actors reading from the same script with one turning four pages and the other not turning any. This combined with the large pacing prevented the show from obtaining the furious pace that farces so often require.

All in all, it was a delightful production. While I would not suggest it for a commercial Chicago or New York audience anymore, any community or summer theatre would do very well by their patrons to reproduce this production. Congrats to the Beverly Theatre Guild for their continued devotion to excellence in the theatre.

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