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Capsule Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local theater

Moon over BuffaloTheatre Southwest has been on a roll for its 46th season. First came the sprightly Molière farce Imaginary Invalid, then the chilling if expository Night Must Fall, then the lovely, atmospheric Bus Stop. Now, TS gives us Ken Ludwig's backstage riot Moon over Buffalo. It's their best production to date, full of charm, wit, pratfalls and hammy actors (they're supposed to be). Ludwig's laugh-out-loud comedy (his best ever) is really a big, squishy bear hug to all those "crazy" actors who lovingly labor in the theater. It's the old-pro Kaufman-and-Hart school of adorable eccentricity that supplies Ludwig's textbook, and he sets up his spinning plot twists and reversals like a whirligig. It's a wonderful contraption, designed purely for laughs. Under the always-in-control direction of Sheryl Stanley, the octet of felicitous actors knows exactly how to play this farce for everything it has. There's not a false move anywhere, from any member of this well-oiled ensemble. As George and Charlotte Hay, the old married pros still making the rounds in the hinterlands and hoping for that one big fat chance at Hollywood, Carl Masterson and Jeanette Sebesta are like warm, cozy sweaters. You want to wrap them around you, and their finely detailed relationship -- expansive, theatrical, snippy, bellowing -- carries the play. They're incomparably matched with Malinda Dunlap, Salle Ellis, Adan Gonzalez, Aaron Thompson, Laura Romero and Jay Menchaca as all the nutty relatives, friends and fiancées who swirl through the backstage lounge of the Erlanger Theatre in Buffalo, New York, circa 1953. The play has a delightfully sunny glow, and that's just how you'll feel when it's over. Through May 6. 8944-A Clarkcrest, 713-661-9505.

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