Neil Simon’s hilarious farce is a
slice of New York life in the 1980’s, depicting wealthy and influential
people who try to hide the fact that their party’s host, the Deputy
Mayor of New York, has tried to commit suicide. They are at his house
to celebrate the 10th wedding anniversary of the Mayor and
his wife, who is mysteriously absent. The servants are missing. There
are no hors d’oeuvres and no forthcoming dinner. The Deputy
Mayor has attempted to shoot himself in the head, but he missed the main
target, and has merely succeeded in shooting himself in his earlobe.
The evening gets progressively more farcical as three more couples
arrive for the party. They try to figure out what has happened while
the first couple, the Mayor’s friend and lawyer, tries to hide the truth
of the situation.
The set department did an
outstanding job creating the look of a modern, sleek, and expensive
home, including glass & steel staircase, fire place, objects of art
adorning the towering walls, and, importantly, four doors leading to
other rooms, doors which are opened and slammed continually throughout
the play as the four whacky couples try to get at the truth of what has
happened to their host, the Deputy Mayor. The costumes are high-style
New York, with chic evening dresses and dinner jackets.
Although the acting was stiff and
exaggerated many times during the production, the audience laughed. The
female actors, in high-heeled shoes, frantically scurry back and forth
across the stage and squeal their lines. The male actors pose and
prance. At times they were close to being sophisticated people acting
ridiculous, but only close. In spite of it all, the show is
entertaining. A Neil Simon comedy is no easy ride for actors. There's
so much to the language. Inflection and nuance are everything. These
young actors do an admirable job of bringing Rumors to life.
A couple of hilarious moments
occurred when Cookie Cusack, played by Trish Schmeltz, exits the room on
hands and knees through cracker crumbs. Later Cookie’s antics on the
couch as her back goes into spasms were outrageous and drew deserved
guffaws. Ken Gorman, played by Jack Graham, got continual laughs when
holding his muffled ear. The second gunshot went off next to his head.
The poor man listens hard to understand what his friends say to him and
repeats what he thinks he’s heard. Neil Simon’s homonyms delight with
jolts of sounds-a-likes but mean nothing close to what was said. Jack
plays dumb well.
While silliness prevailed, all in all, a fun evening—just
what one expects at a farce, especially a Neil Simon farce.