Moon Over Buffalo, Attic Playhouse. Ken Ludwig’s 1979 farce is full of slamming doors, backstage shenanigans, and hilarious misunderstandings as a struggling company of touring players tries to overcome defections, drunkenness, and the resulting confusion in time for a matinee Frank Capra is expected to attend. Seldom seen in Chicago, the play suffers by comparison to Michael Frayn’s Noises Off or Canadian playwright David French’s madcap Jitters. But it has its fair share of smart lines and slapstick vitality.
Jean Losquadro’s silly staging for Attic Playhouse lacks creativity, and many slapstick gags are signaled well in advance, but a solid if not spectacular ensemble gives the show sufficient energy and enthusiasm to help make up for its shortcomings. As George and Charlotte Hay, a once famous duo dreaming of a comeback, John Howard and Jan Ellen Graves both have comic charms, and Howard is great at delivering dry humor or hamming it up when George goes into dramatic overdrive. Jennifer Faletto portrays the couple’s daughter, Rosalind, with vim, and Dolcye Johnson is funny as George’s doddering, nearly deaf mother-in-law. Mike O’Brien makes a solid impression in a small part as Charlotte’s suave suitor, and James Anderson has his best moments bringing a show-must-go-on valor to company manager Paul. Overall this likable but not stunning production offers a fair share of frothy fun.