BWW Review: NEIL SIMON'S RUMORS at Georgetown Palace Playhouse
For over four decades Neil Simon delighted theatre audiences with intelligent and witty dialogue in Broadway shows and movies. His many stories, including THE ODD COUPLE, BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS, and SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES tossed relatable characters together into ridiculous yet delicious circumstances. Virtually everyone who saw any performances of his work came away without a favorite moment, at least one particularly funny line. RUMORS, an unabashed farce written by Simon for the stage in 1988, is no exception.
The Georgetown Palace Playhouse production of RUMORS is directed by Arden Trevino and runs through October 14. Charlie Brock, the Deputy Mayor of New York, has injured himself in a manner sure to created controversy, and his wife Myra is missing. His lawyer Ken, played by Jacob Maspero, his wife Chris (Kimberly Hauser) are the first to arrive for Charlie and Myra's anniversary party, and immediately begin to concoct a plausible story that will avert scandal. As more guests arrive, the lies grow and multiply. The guest list includes Charlie's accountant Lenny (Dana Barnes) with his wife Claire (Megan Strubhar), Psychologist Ernie (Michael Fruge) with his wife Cookie (Linda Myers) who is a famous television chef, and State Senate candidate Glenn Cooper (Nathan Doughty) with his wife Cassie (Maggie Bell). Of course these couples arrive in sequence so that each receives a different version of the still morphing events.
The ticklish situation is punctuated throughout with wordplay involving the names of the characters and hilarious observations by the characters. Kimberly Hauser starts the action with frenetic energy that carries throughout the performance. Dialogue is fast-paced and all performers keep up the rhythm of the performance while working in excellent ensemble form. Each of the characters is well-defined by the author and artistically performed by the cast. Ultimately, the arrival of two police officers (Jennifer Gonzalez and Lisa Doughty) investigating a report by the neighbors brings out an entirely new lie, with some characters pretending to be others in a desperate attempt to squelch the investigation. This culminates in a frantic and sidesplitting monologue, marvelously performed by Dana Barnes in his debut Georgetown Playhouse role.
Neil Simon's RUMORS is an evening of outstanding entertainment, and receives a very high recommendation.