BWW Review: Rumor Has It that RUMORS at Just Off Broadway is a Delightfully Funny Production
Just Off Broadway's (JOB) delightful production of Neil Simon's RUMORS includes exactly what we all need right now - an evening full of plenty of laughs. From the setup to the final pay off, this cast brings the chuckles (and a few guffaws) to a decades old script, that still holds up today. The story begins, how every great story should, with a party. In this instance, it's in a fancy house in New York, circa 1990. However, from the start, things seem a little off. The man of the house, may have tried to end his life, and the woman of the house is missing. Also, all of their closest friends are gathered for their anniversary party. From then on, things go spectacularly awry. Basically, it has all the makings of a fabulous farce.
And that's exactly what it becomes, thanks to a talented cast of comic actors. Starting with the couple who found the man of the house, all the way down to the police officers who may or may not have stumbled onto crime scene, each actor brings so much to their character, that I can almost picture them living this crazy evening in real life. As Lenny, the annoyed and sarcastic friend who takes charge, Tom Piccin is incredibly funny with the snipes and sarcasm. From his look to his delivery of the dry one-liners, he steals the show.
Another standout is the very funny, Kate Forton as Cookie, the slightly dim but oh so kind wife of Ernie the brilliant analyst (wonderfully played by JOB's co-founder and producer Jason Crawford Samios-Uy). She plays her part beautifully, milking every line delivery for every last chuckle. While I don't think this is a spoiler, I will share that the biggest laugh of the evening, came from the simple line "I did..." between Cookie and Lenny. Two great comedic actors playing off each other is so fun to watch.
In terms of athletic performances, Patrick Jay Golden as Ken - otherwise known as he who discovered the man of the house after his attempted offing - is delightfully all over the stage. Heading into and out of doors, trying very hard to keep secrets, and going temporarily deaf for his troubles, his performance is enjoyably amusing. In performances like these, the choreography is often harder than in a musical, but Mr. Golden mastered it wonderfully.
The relationship of the actors to each other radiated into the audience. You could tell the actors were having fun with each other, and enjoyed putting on this fabulous production. So much so, that the performance I was invited to, was a final dress rehearsal - opened to friends and press that couldn't attend over the weekend. The family atmosphere could be felt throughout the evening, from when the lights went down, all the way to final curtain call.
Between the laughs on the stage, and the love in the audience, JOB's production of RUMORS as directed by the talented Jacob Hale is just fantastic. Though, the language and themes may not be suitable for families, it is a great date night show. It's fun and funny, and this cast and crew deserve all the credit for creating a fresh production of a not so well-known Neil Simon work.
RUMORS plays weekends through May 19, 2019 at the Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church (4605 Belair Road, Baltimore MD, 21206). Tickets can be purchased online.