This past Saturday I wandered down to Los Altos to the Bus Barn Stage Company and took in their production of Moon Over Buffalo. This is a wild goose chase of farce and a five door farce at that. The ensemble is talented and well cast for this charming show and each one had real moments of brilliance to be sure but, I found the cohesiveness and some of the chemistry to be inconsistent.
To be totally fair, farce is an inconsistent beast by nature. An off night can mean flat-out disaster while the very next night, the timing clicks, the actors really feed off the audience reaction, and you can have a hilarious result. Live theatre is never more live than when farce is concerned and the line between grand and grand failure can be uncomfortably thin.
Farce is also traditionally done on a large stage with lots of space for the wild, over the top acting style that is so key to making this type of comedy ” really gel. I felt some of the fight sequences and in and out-of-door sequences had to be downsized for this stage and that reduction limited what the actors could do realistically. Timing, facial expressions, body language, it all factors in so critically to the plot and I just felt it couldn’t flow the way it needed to all the time. Indeed, I feel my personal challenges with the performance are due to this being a slightly too ambitious undertaking for this intimate a stage, and not due to any lacking on the part of the actors or director.
Spacial constraints aside, this was an enjoyable show. I certainly saw enough from the cast and laughed out loud enough times to feel like the benefit of the doubt is in order here. For that I give the production 4 jewels out of 5 on the royal tiara. Moon Over Buffalo plays through June 18th in Los Altos.