MOO by Sally Clark, directed by Kristen Schiener, with Risa Gitelman, Brandon Barré, Danielle Brett, Stephen Chambers, Stefanie Drummond, Susanne Egier, Heather Ferguson, Darren Stewart-Jones and Kathleen Killen. Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley). Runs to May 6, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2 pm. $15, Sunday pwyc. 416-364-4170. Rating: NN
it's impossible to lose all the
humour in Sally Clark's Moo, even in a production like the Alumnae's that straitjackets the dark comedy of this alternately brittle and gentle work.
From the opening shotgun blast, we're led into the bizarre, complex and funny relationship between the title character -- Moo is a pet name for Moragh -- and rotter Harry Parker, along the way touching on several generations of Moo's eccentric relatives.
But director Kristen Schiener fails to push the cast for those seesaw shifts, letting the production's pace drag.
As Moo, Risa Gitelman hits only a few of the character's notes. She conveys little sense that the play spans decades, and she rarely demonstrates an obsessive love for Harry. She gets scant support from Brandon Barr, whose wooden, charmless Harry is clearly a liar from his first scene.
The secondary figures are the ones who supply laughs and heart in this sharp, clever script, notably Kathleen Killen as Moo's sister Ditty, a closet romantic, and Stefanie Drummond in two roles, as another of Harry's conquests and as Moo's great-niece, who initially dislikes her elderly relative but ends up respecting her.