Stagebeat

 American Buffalo by David Mamet employs his usual staccato interchanges and scatological flair; but in this production by TheaterWest, the acting sometimes weakens the desired effect, not allowing the audience to grasp the sense of the script, let alone laugh at the humor. The play is performed la theater in the round, with each scene taking place in the same junk shop, the shelves lined with junk and the card table littered with cans. The owner, Donny, takes under his wing Bobby, the village idiot, who wants only to please, showing him the ropes and the meaning of "good business." But the adult "kid" is an annoyance to Teach, the third character in this triangle, as the trio's plan to steal a valuable coin unfolds. Mamet's play is an interesting look at the life of three odd fellows, with humor that derives from the sheer pointlessness of it all. Unfortunately, many of Mamet's lines are lost, especially in the beginning. Teach (Paul Landrigan), who has many of the best lines, bowls over them, rushing along as if this were a run-through, spewing out sentences with profane punctuation but none of the intended punch; his violence seems too staged. The gem here is Donny (Michael George Owens), who uses props and character flaws brilliantly, taking on a slouch, a shrug, or a thin smile to say it all, using the words almost as an afterthought. Bobby (Paul Homza) is more of a one-dimensional character but does well with his stupidity. If Landrigan could slow down his fevered pitch, the production might be golden. (Through August 29 at the Stonzek Studio Theater, next to the Lake Worth Playhouse at 713 Lake St., Lake Worth, 561-586-6410.) -- Rachel Galvin
 
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