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Delightful slapstick in “Moon Over Buffalo”

  • George (Dodds Delzell) considers making an adjustment to Howard (Erik Weiss) as Charlotte stands by to help in the madcap and zany Moon Over Buffalo slapstick farce playing from now through Feb. 3.

By: Janet and Lanny Lowery
January 18, 2019

Nothing appears more fun than nonstop slapstick performed properly from the opening line to the last curtain.  Nothing may be more difficult to perform than slapstick with its physical comedy, its absurd situations, and its violent actions.  The slapstick in 6th Street Playhouse’s production, “Moon Over Buffalo”, never lets up as it’s present from the beginning of the play to the end and never lets down because the timing and the acrobatics of the players has been carefully orchestrated.

“Moon Over Buffalo”, which runs from Jan. 11 through Feb. 3, contains all of the elements of a great modern farce.  While the characters find themselves in what they believe are serious situations, they and all of their problems transform into the ridiculous.  The story centers on a married couple, two aging actors who are hoping for one last break.  A very important director plans to observe them in an afternoon performance in Buffalo.  One ludicrous situation after another keeps the action moving and one revelation after another about illicit relationships liven the audience’s interest.

Carl Jordan, well-known director/choreographer, and professional dancer, has pulled this satirical and lively slapstick together.  Jordan praised his cast as “an amazing group of talented and dedicated actors!”  And his enthusiasm carried through all eight actors’ performances.

What haven’t we seen Dodds Delzell in?  His lead role of George Hay in “Moon Over Buffalo” equates to the best of all his performances.  His sense of timing makes every shtick work.

Delzell’s opposite, Madeleine Ashe, stars as George’s wife, Charlotte.  Ashe played Andrea in “By the Water” at Spreckels, Linda in “Death of a Salesman” with the Novato Theater as well as Yenta in “Fiddler on the Roof” at The Cinnabar.  Her well-rounded experience aptly prepared her for satire and farce.

Joe Winkler, a name in local theater for many years, plays Richard with just the touch of seriousness to lend himself victim to confusion and hope.  And really confused and beyond hope, Ethel creates her own kind of humor as she is deftly performed by Shirley Nilsen Hall who was last seen at 6th Street Playhouse performing Mrs. Higgins in “My Fair Lady.”

All of the other four actors add to the fun.  Chandler Parrott-Thomas adds to the humor as she plays Rosalind.  And Robert Nelson, comedic actor and singer adds more light comedy.   Erik Weiss, last seen nearly stealing the show at Spreckels as he played Fester in “Addams Family,” has his acrobatic moments in “Moon Over Buffalo.”  Another addition to the 6th Street Playhouse family, Victoria Saitz makes her debut as Eileen.  All of these actors work smoothly to create slapstick, horseplay and buffoonery from the first through the last minute of the play.

“Moon Over Buffalo” succeeds as highly entertaining attaining a bizarre probability through seemingly inane and improbable situations because of the professionalism exerted by the cast and the director.  Every part of this kind of play was an important cog and each small gag was the result of hours of practice and preparation.  Take a night off from the shutdown and other national, world and local problems, and prepare to laugh, hoot, smile and savor pure slapstick and farce.  “Moon Over Buffalo” runs through Feb. 3 at 6th Street Playhouse (6thstreetplayhouse.com and 707-523-4185).