What actor wouldn’t want to appear in “Popcorn Falls,” the Midnight Company production running through April 13?
After all, the comedy by James Hindman features two main roles and an abundance of tangential ones — played by the same two actors. And the success of the play depends on how well they can bring it all off without the entire show coming across as too gimmicky.
For reasons too complicated to get into, the economic future of a small town depends on whether new mayor Trundle (Joe Hanrahan) and janitor Joe (Shane Signorino) can put on a play, with the help of townspeople who tend toward the eccentric.
Problem is, neither Trundle nor Joe is quite up to the task. But if they can create a new play and get it on its feet, they’ll be able to do the same for their town.
“Popcorn Falls” is best appreciated as a showcase for Hanrahan and Signorino, who fully embrace the play’s wackiness and gleefully fit into the skins of its characters.
Hanrahan’s hangdog demeanor — not unlike that of Buster Keaton — lends the proceedings a comic boost. He’s totally believable as a city official who realizes that he’s in over his head but is determined to forge ahead anyway.
Signorino, who was impressive in the recent SATE production of “No Exit,” shifts between personas with quicksilver speed. And he renders each of them a distinct individual while remaining in sync with the play’s manic energy.
Director Sarah Whitney keeps things moving with aplomb, even when Hindman indulges in jokes about the act of creating theater that are a bit too precious.
As comedies go, “Popcorn Falls” is little more than adequate, and it’s unclear just what point — if any — it’s trying to make. But as an acting showcase, it pops.