Fun and Games at Alleyway Theatre – Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf

THE BASICS: Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf by Tim Ryder is at Alleyway Theatre, 1 Curtain Up Alley, Buffalo, NY 14202. The play runs from April 27 – May 11, for tickets — or 716-852-2600

THUMBNAIL SKETCH: The hijinks begin from the moment the lights come up in this mashup of characters from some of the greatest plays of modern drama. What would Martha think of Blanche? What would Stanley have to say to George? And poor Willy. Set in Big Daddy’s sprawling New Orleans home, this uproarious comedy of games, booze, and lust. Hosted by your favorite small-town Narrator.

RUNTIME: 75 minutes, no intermission


Author Tim Ryder is a writer and director for Jackbox Games in Chicago, performs with The Improvised Shakespeare Company and can be heard on the Hello From the Magic Tavern podcast. He is an alumni of Second City Chicago and Comedysportz Chicago.

His play has screamingly funny lines and a script sprinkled with classic film and theatre references and theatrical terminology and, as a plus, it answers some important questions like — What is Happy Loman’s real name? And what became of George Gibbs after Emily Webb died? Now I know!

The direction by Kevin Leary is spritely with a blithe disregard for acting mores — going over the top is absolutely appropriate here and there are lots of inventive bits of business and a playful pace.

Scenic and costume design by Collin Ranney and the lighting design by Emma Schimminger are fine.

As Stanley from Streetcar, Jacob Albarella is consistently amusing with his sudden angry (and sweaty!) outbursts and overly dramatic posturing a la Marlon Brando.

Photos by Sarah Potter

Peter Horn is George from Virginia Woolf to a “T” and would actually be just right in a real production of the Albee play. Lindsay Brandon Hunter is wonderfully caustic and a great foil as his wife, the abrasive Martha.

Anna Krempholtz is easily the best Blanche from Streetcar that I’ve ever seen and she is especially fabulous when she stands wild-eyed in a red pin spot letting her frighteningly raw emotions spew forth. I kept thinking that Ms. Krempholtz would be devastating as Bananas in House of Blue Leaves. 

As the folksy Our Town narrator, Nicholas Lama is smooth and sublime. From the very beginning of the production we rest assured that, even though the antics will get rather bizarre, we are in Mr. Lama’s soothing good hands.

David C. Mitchell, the Lee J. Cobb of WNY, is perfectly cast and marvelously comical as the misguided sad sack Everyman, Willy Loman, from Death of a Salesman. And he certainly gets excited when he finally makes a sale!

Photo by Sarah Potter

For those who might not be familiar with the plays that are parodied here – don’t worry. My companion for the evening had never seen Virginia Woolf or Death of a Salesman, and he told me that he very much enjoyed the production. And the program includes a light-hearted and informative article about the plays by Robyn Lee Horn for those not familiar with American theatre from 1930-1960. 

Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf is pure delight from beginning to end! This is a must see!


FIVE BUFFALOS: Exceptional quality – a rare rating. Whether it’s a hilarious comedy or a touching drama, if this is your kind of show, missing out would be a mistake! 

FOUR BUFFALOS: Both the production and the play are of exceptional quality. If the genre and content match your preferences, it’s worth seeing. 

THREE BUFFALOS: Despite minor drawbacks, it’s a solid production and a pleasant evening at the theater. Keep your expectations in check, and you’re likely to have a good time. 

TWO BUFFALOS: If you’re a self-proclaimed theatre enthusiast who simply adores attending shows, go ahead and give it a try. However, if the genre and themes don’t resonate with you, you might want to explore other options. 

ONE BUFFALO: This might not be the best choice for everyone unless you have a compelling reason to attend, like having family or friends involved in the performance. It’s probably a good idea to skip this one.

The post Fun and Games at Alleyway Theatre – Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf appeared first on Buffalo Rising.

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