Theatre Mirror Reviews - "RUMORS"

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Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Renaissance City Theatre Inc., the producing entity at the Granite Theatre's summer show is the farce "Rumors" by Neil Simon. At a large, tastefully appointed Snedon's Landing townhouse, Charlie Brock, the Deputy Mayor of New York has just shot himself. Though only a flesh wound, four couples are about to experience a severe attack of Farce. Gathering for their tenth wedding anniversary, the host lies bleeding in his bedroom and his wife is nowhere in sight. His lawyer, Ken and 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. David Jepson picks the best 10 performers to fill these 10 roles including himself as Lenny. His expert direction wins this talented cast a thunderous ovation and constant laughter all night long.

David keeps the show in constant motion and gives his cast some clever shtick to perform. The cast manages to keep the break neck tempo while delivering their tongue twisting lines. The first couple at the party are Chris and Ken played by Christine Reynolds and Chris Maxwell. They set the pace for the madcap adventures of the rest of the cast from their very first lines. Chris 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. Chris has many funny one liners as Ken when he becomes deaf from a gunshot. This is when Ken misunderstands everything people are saying to him, earning him many laughs. Christine plays the nervous lawyer, Chris who just gave up smoking. She brings out the humorous aspects of this woman especially when she repeats one of the wacky explanations at top speed. Christine is a hoot with her facial expressions and one liners, winning many laughs. They do a wonderful job in these two roles.

The second couple, Lenny and Claire Ganz are played by David and his lovely wife, Beth. This couple just had a car crash so Lenny has whiplash and Claire has a cut lip. David and Beth have many funny lines in this show including the rumors they heard about Charlie and Myra from Carol Newman and Harold Green. They command the stage in these roles. David is excellent as Lenny and 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 ear lobe. Beth handles her one liners splendidly and her facial reactions to Lenny's story are priceless, too. The third couple Ernie and Cookie are well played by Christopher Donohue and Sharon Shalloo. Ernie is a shrink while Cookie hosts a cooking show on TV. They also have funny pet names for each other. She appears in a hideous 60 year old dress, has a bad back and crawls around on the floor while Ernie burns his hands on a platter and dances up a storm with Cookie in the La Bamba scene. Christopher has a funny melt down scene while Sharon's funniest scene occurs when she makes everyone crawl on the floor to look for her missing earring which she has in her own hand.

The fourth couple Glenn and Cassie are played by David Steenburg and Victoria Gordon. They provide high energy as this constantly bickering couple. David plays a worried politician who might be having an affair with Myra or Carol Newman while Victoria plays the new age wife who likes to rub crystals and flirt with the other women's husbands. The final two performers in "Rumors' are Jim Doherty and Linda Shea as the two cops. Jim plays the irate officer Welch who is looking for answers to his questions from the uncooperative guests. Linda Shea rounds out the cast as Officer Pudney. I have many fond memories of "Rumors" having directed it for Community Players back in 1993. So for a sidesplitting farce, be sure catch Renaissance City Theatre Inc.' s production of "Rumors" in Westerly, RI.

RUMORS ( 29 July to 28 August)
Renaissance City Theatre Inc. @ Granite Theatre, 1 Granite Street, Westerly, RI
1(401)596-2341 or

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