Local playwright Scotto Moore usually leans toward science fiction—past plays have featured interdimensional travel, a genetics researcher wooed by an intelligent lab mouse, and rival wizards who hack the deep structure of language. But in Balconies, his self-described "screwball comedy," Moore tinkers with social engineering.
Cameron (Drew Highlands) and Annalise (Katherine Karaus) are neighbors in a fancy condo building. He's a shy programmer, she's a brassy lawyer, and they realize they're both throwing big parties on their adjoining balconies. His will be a collection of freaks and geeks in costume to celebrate the latest release of his popular video game, Sparkle Dungeon; hers will be a high-end political fundraiser for her mother, whose campaign is being supported by celebrities, top politicos, and the wealthy (and control-freaky) leader of a "weird Hollywood church" that worships a tentacled creature known as Gorvod.
The setup indicates a Noël Coward–style farce for the 21st century, and that's what we get as a parade of oddballs from either side of the cultural divide fight, flirt, and baffle each other. Annalise's narcissistic movie-star boyfriend, Cody, is trying to escape the weird Hollywood church, a member of the "hacker underground" is trying to swipe data from the phone of its leader, Lonso, everyone's getting a little drunk, and the hosts are just trying to keep things under control.
Balconies has an enthusiastic, I've-got-a-barn-let's-put-on-a-show kind of feel, with the pleasure of watching a band whose members aren't exactly masters of their instruments but are consistently entertaining. Special mentions go to Jason Sharp for his unctuously graceful performance as Lonso, and Mike Gilson for his marvelous deadpan as the senator's head of security, Brick. Toward the beginning of the play, Annalise warns Cameron that if anything unusual happens that night, the chief of police might take an interest. "He won't," Brick rumbles. "Because: bourbon." That one nearly brought the house down.