Theatre Mirror Reviews - "RUMORS"

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note: entire contents copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Contemporary Theater Company's current summer show is "Rumors", a farce by Neil Simon. It is the tenth anniversary party of Charlie Brock, deputy mayor of New York. The party goes terribly and hilariously astray. Abiding in Murphy's Law, "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 have to get their "story" straight as more guests arrive while further chaos ensues. As the confusions and miscommunications mount the evening spins off into classical hilarity. Comic complications arise when, given everyone's upper class status, they decide to conceal the events of the evening from the local police and media. Director Maggie Cady picks the best performers for these wild and madcap roles while Christopher Simpson built a stunning two story set that is amazing. Their combined efforts produce a fun filled farce that will leave you laughing in the aisles all night long.

Maggie keeps the pacing of this farce at the breakneck speed it needs. She blocks and directs her cast wonderfully with their tongue twisting lines and clever shtick and pratfalls. The first couple at the party, Ken and Chris are played by Sami Avigdor and Maggie Papa. They set the pace for the madcap adventures of this cast from their very first lines. The lawyer keeps running up and down the stairs in the first act while creating a cover story for Charlie and Myra and in the second act he tries to straighten things out whent the cops show up. Sami has many funny one liners especially when Ken becomes deaf after a gun is shot off in the bedroom. This is when Ken misunderstands what everyone is saying to him, garnering him many laughs. Maggie plays the nervous lawyer who just gave up smoking. She brings out the humorous aspects of this jittery woman especially when she repeats one of her crazy explanations at top speed.They do a wonderful job with these roles.

The second couple Lenny and Claire Ganz are played by Andrew Katzman and Steph Rodger. They just had a car crash so Lenny has whiplash and Claire has a cut lip. Andrew and Steph have many funny lines including the rumors they heard about Charlie and Myra from Carol Newman and Harold Green. They have great chemistry together in all their scenes and with the other couples. Andrew 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 and makes up a convoluted story about drinking champagne with "Myra", making love with her and then accidentally shooting himself in the earlobe. Steph handles all her one liners splendidly all night long and her reactions to Lenny's story are priceless, too. The third couple is Ernie and Cookie who are played by Charlie Santos and Ashley Macamaux, who do a great job with 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 first appears in a hideous 60 year old Russian pants, 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. Charlie has a very funny meltdown scene while Ashley's hilarious scene is when she makes the others crawl around on the floor looking for an earring she has in her hand. She also has many splendid pratfalls.

The fourth couple Glenn and Cassie are played by Witt Tarantino and Robin Deering. They provide high energy as this constantly bickering couple. Witt plays the politician who might be having an affair with Myra or Carol Newman while Robin 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 performer is Peter Bucci as the cop. Peter plays Officer Welch, the irate policeman who is looking for answers to his questions from the uncooperative guests. Officer Welch receives laughs during his walkie talkie scene. 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 Contemporary Theater Company.

RUMORS (8 July to 13 August)
Contemporary Theater Company, 327 Main St, Wakefield, RI
1(401)218-0282 or

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