How High the Moon 

Swift Creek Mill's latest is both funny and familiar.

click to enlarge art28_theater_moon_300.jpg

Love trials, forgotten stars, Irish coffee and lots of revolving entrances and exits — just another day at the theater for the family in “Moon Over Buffalo,” Swift Creek Mill's summer offering. This madcap comedy splashes itself onto the stage as a more than acceptable excuse to go out on a hot night and sit in a dark room with other people delighting in live theater and arctic-cold air conditioning.

It's 1953. Rosalind Hay (Georgia Rogers Farmer), an actress turned regular person, brings her weatherman fiance, Howard (Paul Deiss), to Buffalo, N.Y., to meet her showbiz-star parents, Charlotte and George Hay (Joy Williams and John Hagadorn), who have fallen to a place in their careers of performing repertory in a second-rate city. Hilarity ensues in the form of mistaken identities, mixed-up performances, melodramatic characters and misheard directives.

This play is funny. At the performance I attended, the audience laughed throughout the entire show (Ken Ludwig's script, as interpreted by director Tom Width, is side-splitting). But the cast also seemed at times to be regurgitating other performances (Hagadorn and Williams are reprising their roles from 13 years ago) and this brought a perceptible staleness to the show for regular theatergoers. It seems as though the performances are plucked from other shows and plopped into this script with moderately different costumes — a formula that works for some and makes the show no less comical. Ironically, the best-played scene is the play-within-the-play in which the actors reveal their true selves while acting.

This production of “Moon Over Buffalo” is like a kiddie ride at Disneyland: It's safe, intellectually unchallenging but quite enjoyable in a familiar kind of way.

“Moon Over Buffalo” runs on select dates at Swift Creek Mill, 17401 Jefferson Davis Highway, through July 31. For information call 748-5203 or go to swiftcreekmill.com.

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