The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title Rumors
Organization Sierra College Drama Department
Date(s) of show October 24 - November 2
Reviewer Letha Dawson

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 eveningjust what one expects at a farce, especially a Neil Simon farce.

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