Saturday, May 17, 2014

Rockaway Theatre Company: “Buffalo” Leaves Them Laughing

Memo from the RTC: “Buffalo” Leaves Them Laughing
By Norm Scott

I attended the final dress rehearsal of the current Rockaway Theatre Company production of Ken Ludwig’s “Moon Over Buffalo” the night before it opened. Aside from the directors, Leslie Ross and Alan Rosenfeld, there were two of us in the audience watching the impeccable timing and perfect delivery of lines that hit right on the money despite there not being an audience present to feed off. Not that we didn’t try to do our bit. But it is strange sitting in an almost empty theater watching a very funny comedy and trying to control yourself a bit so your laughter doesn’t sound too strange.  The next night, opening night, there were crescendos of laughs as every line found their targets. Lesson learned: the very same performance takes on a life of its own when the actors get a responsive audience. And last Friday, there was one hell of a responsive audience.

The cast cannot be more perfect in their execution of the choreography required for multiple entries and exits on cue as one door slams and another opens. (I was praying none of the door knobs would come off since I was responsible for installing them.) Thomas Kane (playing George Hay), an RTC vet, plays the lead with a flawless performance – especially since he is drunk for much of it. Just watch as he wrestles with Steve Ryan (Paul) as he tries to get Tom into his pants in time for a performance. There were howls from the audience as the choreography played out. Kim Simek (Rosalind) plays the balcony scene to such comic  effect in Private Lives when her “husband” doesn’t quite make it out on stage, the laughs practically drowned her out. Oh, the look on her face. Jodee Tampone (Charlotte Hay) is stunning in the role created on stage by Carol Burnett as she has two guys chasing after her and we get why they want her. Susan Corning is perfection itself playing Charlotte’s deaf mother. And the 3 supporting actors – Lauren Susan (Eileen), Kevin Abernathy (Howard) and Jeffrey Gedacht (Richard) deliver excellent performances.

This is not a full review but a call for every Rockaway resident who can get to the Post Theater in Fort Tilden this weekend and next (Fri/Sat night shows at 8PM, Sunday Matinee on May 18 at 2PM.)

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