Theatre Mirror Review>"Rumors"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2015 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The New England Repertory Theatre's current show at MMAS is "Rumors", a Neil Simon farce. It is the tenth anniversary party of Charlie Brock, the deputy mayor of New York. The party goes terribly and hilariously astray. Abiding by Murphy's Law of "If it can go wrong, it will." The farce begins with the arrival of Charlie's lawyer, Ken Gorman and his wife, Chris at Charlie and Myra's party. Unfortunately all the kitchen staff is gone, Myra is missing and Charlie has shot himself in the head. The lawyer and his wife must get their "story" straight as more guests arrive while further chaos ensues. As the confusions and miscommunications mount the evening spins off into classical farcical hilarity. Comic complications arise when, given everyone's upper class status, they decide they need to conceal the evening's events from the local police and the media.Director Beth Goldman picks the best 10 performers for these roles, earning them thunderous applause as well as many laugh out loud moments, too.

Beth keeps the pacing of this farce at the breakneck speed it needs and directs the cast excellently with their tongue twisting lines. She also does an excellent job blocking her cast on the two story townhouse set. The breathtaking house set by Mike Duarte and Glenn Fournier. The first couple at the party, Ken and Chris are played Ken Levy and Alice Springer. They set the pace for the madcap adventures of the cast from their very first lines. as the lawyer tries to straighten things out when the cops show up in the second act while in the first act, he constantly runs up and down the stairs while creating a cover story for Charlie and Myra. Ken has many funny one liners when Ken becomes deaf when a gun is shot off in the bedroom. This is when Ken misunderstands everything they try to tell him, earning  him much laughter. Alice 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. Alice is a hoot with her facial reactions and many one liners, winning many laughs all night long. They do a wonderful job with these roles.

The second couple Lenny and Claire Ganz are played by David Giagrando and Julie Cline. They just had a car crash so Lenny has whiplash and Claire has a cut lip. David and Julie have many funny lines in the show including the rumors they have heard about Charlie and Myra from Carol Newman and Harold Green. They have great chemistry in all their scenes and with the other couples. David is excellent as Lenny but he stops the show with his two page monologue while pretending to be Charlie. He acts out what he thinks happened as well as speaking fake Spanish when he imitates two of the servants. He also makes up a convoluted story about drinking champagne with "Myra", making love with her and then accidentally shooting himself in the earlobe. Julie handles her one liners splendidly all night long and her reactions to Lenny's story are priceless, too. The third couple Ernie and Cookie are played by Michael Kiernan and Barbara Pettis, who do a great job in their wacky roles. Ernie is a shrink and Cookie has a cooking show on TV. They also have funny pet names for each other. She appears in a hideous 60 year old Russian dress, has a bad back and crawls around on the floor while Ernie burns his hands on a hot platter and dances up a storm with Cookie in the La Bamba segment. Mike has a funny melt down scene while Barbara's hilarious scene comes when she makes the others crawl on the floor looking for a lost earring that she has in her hand.

The fourth couple Glenn and Cassie are played by Mike Legge and Cindy McCarron. They provide high energy as this constantly bickering couple. Mike plays the worried politician who might be having an affair with Myra or Carol Newman while Cindy plays his new age wife who loves to rub crystals and flirt with the other women's husbands. They are wonderful as this crazed couple. The final two performers in "Rumors" are Joseph Carlone and Alan Conway as the cops. Joseph plays the irate policeman, Officer Welch who is looking for answers to his questions from the uncooperative guests. Alan's Officer Pudney receives his laughs when he is contacted by the police station via his walkie talkie. I have many fond memories of "Rumors" having directed it for Community Players in 1993. So for a sidesplitting farce, be sure to catch "Rumors" at MMAS.

"Rumors" (24 April - 10 May)
@ MMAS, 377 North Street. MANSFIED MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide