Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Rumors"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2011 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Little Theatre of Fall River's current show is the Neil Simon farce "Rumors". The show takes place in May, 1989 in Charley and Myra Brock's home in Sneden's Landing, New York on their tenth wedding anniversary. Several affluent couples gather in the posh suburban residence for a dinner party. When they arrive, they discover there are no servants, the hostess is missing, and the host, the deputy mayor of New York City, has shot himself through the earlobe. Comic complications arise when, given everyone's upper class status, they decide they need to do everything possible to conceal the evening's events from the local police and the media. Four couples are about to experience a severe attack of farce. Charley's lawyer, Ken and his wife, Chris must get "the story" straight before the other guests arrive. As the confusions and miscommunications mount, the evening spins off into classic farcical hilarity. Merry mayhem ensues with the craziness of each couple, the entrance of two cops, all leading to a surprise ending. Director Bob Gillet picks the 10 best people for each of the roles, earning them all many laugh out loud moments and thunderous applause at the close of the show.

Bob keeps the pacing of this farce at the breakneck speed it needs. He also does an excellent job blocking his cast on the two story townhouse set. The gorgeous set is designed by Bob and is so realistic you could live in it. The lush costumes are by Aaron Gendreau--Visco while Maria Dawson as the stage manager keeps things running smoothly during the performance. The first couple at the party, Ken and Chris Gorman are played by Michael Coury and Pamela Morgan. They set the pace for the madcap adventures from their very first lines. Michael is Chris' frantic husband Ken who is a lawyer. He tries to straighten things out when two cops show up in the second act while in the first act, he constantly runs up and down the stairs while trying to create a cover story for Charley and Myra. Ken becomes deaf when a gun is shot off in the bedroom and Michael has many funny one liners about it. Ken misunderstands everything they try to tell him, earning him much laughter. Pamela plays the nervous lawyer Chris who just gave up smoking. She brings out the humorous aspects of this jittery woman especially when she repeats one of the wacky explanations at top speed. Pamela is a hoot as Chris gets drunker as the night goes on. I last reviewed Pamela as Sheila in "A Chorus Line".They both do a wonderful job with these roles.

The second couple Lenny and Claire Ganz are played by Roger Belanger and Deborah Sadler. They just had a car crash and Lenny has whiplash and Claire has a cut lip. Roger and Deborah have many funny lines in the show including the rumors they have heard about Charley and Myra at the club from Carol Newman and Harold Green. They have great chemistry together in all their scenes and with the other couples. Roger is excellent in this role but his two page monologue is the show stopping moment in this farce. He acts out what he thinks happened while pretending to be Charley Brock. He speaks fake Spanish when he imitates two of the servants as well as making up a convoluted story about drinking champagne with "Myra", making love with her and accidentally shooting himself in the earlobe. Deborah handles her one liners splendidly all night long and her reactions to story are priceless,too. The third couple Ernie and Cookie are played by Kenneth Raposa and Sarah Morse, who do a great job in their wacky roles. Ernie is a shrink and Cookie has a cooking show on TV and they have funny pet names for each other. She appears in this hideous 60 year old Russian dress, has a bad back and crawls around the floor while Ernie burns his hands on a hot platter and dances up a storm with Cookie in the La Bamba dance segment. He also has a hilarious melt down scene, too. She has a hilarious scene where she makes the others crawl around the floor looking for her lost earrings.

The fourth couple Glenn and Cassie are played by Cory David Santos and Lauren Annicelli They provide high energy as this constantly bickering couple. Cory plays the worried politician who might be having an affair with the infamous Carol Newman while Lauren plays his new age wife who loves to rub crystals and likes to flirt with the other women's husbands. I last reviewed Cory as Sonny in "Grease". They are wonderful as this crazed couple. The final two performers in "Rumors" are Roger Duarte and Suzie Gardner who play the two cops in the second act. Roger commands the stage as Officer Welch, the irate policeman who is looking for answers from the uncooperative guests. I last reviewed Roger as Paul in "Barefoot in the Park".Suzie's Officer Pudney gets her laughs when she is contacted by the station via her walkie talkie. I have fond memories of this show having directed it for Community Players in 1993. So for a sidesplitting farce, be sure to catch "Rumors".

"Rumors" (10 - 13 March)
@ BBC, Elsbree Street, FALL RIVER MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide