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‘Moon’ is delightfully loony

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Tracy Hill and Lego Louis star in "Moon Over Buffalo" in Logan.

Tracy Hill and Lego Louis star in “Moon Over Buffalo” in Logan.

Donna Barry, USU Photo Services

MOON OVER BUFFALO, Old Lyric Repertory Company, Logan, through Aug. 6 (435-797-0305 or www.usu.edu/lyric).

LOGAN — "Moon Over Buffalo" is one of those plays that actors love to be in, and the cast of Logan's Old Lyric Repertory Company is no exception.

Billed as a farce, "Moon Over Buffalo" (the city, not the animal) has everything a stage actor could ask for: lots of opportunities to ham it up, funny costumes, some swordplay, broadly written characters, mistaken identities and a breezy, easy comedic formula.

Oh, and it's a play about a play. Actors love those.

The OLRC takes full advantage of each of these elements in its first offering of the summer, especially the opportunities to act over the top. The script, by Ken Ludwig, even throws in a deaf grandmother, leading to easy puns and jokes revolving around misinterpreted commands.

Leading the charge into each easy laugh is Charlotte Hay (played by Tracy Hill) and her husband George (Lego Louis), who operate a community theater in upstate New York that is on its last legs. The pair hate the community and hate the fact they came "that close" to making it big in the movies. But, boy, they love to act. It's in their blood, and daily shows of "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Private Lives" are too important to give up.

The plot thickens — a bit — when Hollywood director Frank Capra is expected to be in the audience for the next show, searching for a cast member for a new movie.

Amy Lewis plays Charlotte and George's daughter, Rosalind, who has performed in one too many Hay family productions and has turned to a career in advertising. Stone-deaf Granny Ethel (Jackie Fuller) was once an actress, too, but now is the confused costume mistress for this fledgling family theater troupe. Both present their stereotyped characters in a nontypical and fun manner.

Hill is perfect as the dramatic almost-over-the-hill actress/wife. Her sweeping gestures and almost-British accent are in perfect character. Only a costume that wouldn't stay up and another that didn't rip on cue (twice) kept Hill's opening-night performance from being flawless.

Louis gets more opportunities to act the ham. He acts inebriated during most of the production and gets as much mileage out of the obvious comedy elements as he can. Only an occasional mumbled and hard-to-hear aside kept his performance from matching Hill's.

Ron King plays family friend and lawyer Richard, who comes to take Charlotte away from all this madness. Playing the straight man, Richard has all the good lines, and King is solid in his minor role.

"Moon Over Buffalo" tries to be a "Noises Off" wannabe, with lots of doors banging and people running on and off stage. But while "Noises Off" — and other great farces — are usually bang-bang-bang in their pace, "Moon" is more bang-bang-yawn-bang. The OLRC cast milked all they could out of the Ludwig script, but there are some slow moments.

But not enough to turn away fans of a good laugh.


E-mail: jay@statesman.serv.usu.edu