Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Rumors"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2003 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Norwich Arts Council Theater's current production is the Neil Simon farce, "Rumors". The show takes place in Charley and Myra Brock's home in Sneden's Landing, New York on their tenth wedding anniversary. The 8 guests have arrived and someone has been shot. Merry mayhem ensues with the craziness of each couple, the entrance of two cops, all leading to a surprise ending. Director Ron McGory 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.

Ron keeps the pacing of this farce at the breakneck speed it needs. He also does a great job blocking his cast on the two story townhouse set. The gorgeous white set is designed by Chuck Norris and he and Ed Lowe with their crew built it. It is so realistic, you wouldn't mind living there. The costumes, lighting and sound are excellently executed by Lois Pegg, Roy Bourque, Keith Mutch and Bob Calabro. The Donald Oat theater is located in a beautiful three story building which is as impressive as the show housed inside it. Kudos to Ron and his hard working crew and producer, Mary Norris who make the production values very impressive.

The first couple at the party is Chris and Ken Gorman played Debbie Bacewicz and John Andriso. They set the pace for the madcap farce from their very first lines. Debbie, a Nicole Kidman look alike, plays the nervous lawyer Chris who just gave up smoking. She brings out the humourous aspects of this jittery woman especially when she repeats one of the wacky plans at rapid fire speed. Brian is her frantic, husband Ken who is also a lawyer. He tries to straighten things out when the two cops show up in the second act while in the first act, he constantly runs up and down the stairs. He becomes deaf and has many funny oneliners about it. They both do fantastic work in their roles.

The second couple, Claire and Lenny Ganz are played by Christine Reynolds and Bill Nelligan. They just had a car crash and Lenny has whiplash and Claire has a cut lip. Christine and Bill have many funny lines in the show including the rumors they have heard at the club from Carol Newman and Harold Green. They have great chemistry together in all their scenes and with the other couples. Christine handles her oneliners splendidly all night long. Bill is excellent throughout the show but his two page monologue is the high point of the evening. He acts out what he thinks happended while pretending to be Charley Brock. Bill 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 accidently shooting himself in the earlobe. Christine's reactions to his story are hysterical, too. Superb job.

The third couple, Ernie and Cookie are played by David Foulkes and Annetta Arpin, who a great job in their wacky roles. Ernie is a shrink and Cookie has a cooking show on TV. She appears in this hideous green 60 year old Russian dress and 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. The last couple, Glenn and Cassie are played by Tim Moore and Melissa Covitz. They provide high energy as the constantly bickering couple. Tim plays the worried politician who might be having an affair with the infamous, Carol Newman, perfectly while she plays his new age wife who loves to rub crystals and likes to flirt with the other husbands. (I didn't recognize Tim in this show because he had a beard and moustache as well as buck teeth in "A Show of Her Own" last year.) The last two performers in "Rumors" who play the cops were also in the other show with Tim. Justin Taylor only 21 years old plays Officer Welch by lowering his speaking voice to age the character. He commands the stage as the irate cop who is looking for answers from the uncooperative guests. Jennifer MacVeigh as Officer Pudney gets her laughs when she is contacted by the station via her walkie talkie. This is one of the best versions of this show I have seen. So for a sidesplitting Neil Simon farce be sure to catch "Rumors" in Connecticut at the Norwich Arts Council Theater. You won't be disappointed and be sure to tell them Tony sent you.

"Rumors" (20 - 29 March)
Donald Oat Theater, 62 Broadway, NORWICH, CONNECTICUT
1 (860) 887-2789

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide