BWW Review: RUMORS at Castle Craig Players
I had the pleasure of seeing the Castle Craig Players' excellent production of Neil Simon's RUMORS on Friday, June 8, at the Almira F. Stephan Memorial Playhouse, in Meriden, CT. This is my first time ever reviewing a show that I have previously reviewed at another theater. While it is no surprise that the right cast members in the right roles, with the right stage chemistry, can make or break the quality of individual characters, I am amazed to see just how extreme the degree of difference can be, in terms of which characters will stand out as dominant, even within the same show. I am pleased to say that this Castle Craig Players' production delivers many comedic moments that I had not previously recalled.
The set depicts the inside of a two story house. The downstairs has an outdoor exit, a bathroom, a closet, and a door to the kitchen, while the stairs lead upwards to an exit to one room. It is easy to forget that the imagined rooms behind the doors don't actually exist, since the actors' usage of the space creates a realistic vibe.
The story opens with an intense exchange between a married couple who are in a panic after being the first guests to arrive at a house party, only to find that the host has shot himself. They plan to attempt to work together to marginalize and ultimately cover up this serious predicament that they stumbled upon, even though they argue over how to best do this.
The situation gets even stickier as more guests arrive, couple by couple, each with their own unique chemistry, enhancing the complexity of who to be honest with, leading to some amusing inconsistencies of explanations among the characters and an excellently acted deliberately disproportionate stress placed upon issues that were relatively minor compared to the host having shot himself.
The standout couple in this performance is Lenny and Claire Ganz, who are brilliantly performed by David Cheris and Lori Holm, respectively. Their stage chemistry is tight, with their reactions to each other's words and actions highly believable, even in the farcical dynamic of the play.
Stu Wolther steals the show as Welch, the lead police officer, upon entering the show towards the end. His stage presence is strong with sharp line delivery and an overall believability to his depiction of the character.
While the audience should be prepared for some profanity and blasphemy, it will hopefully not detract from the genuine humor that this excellent cast conveys throughout the show. I highly recommend RUMORS which is scheduled to continue to run at the Almira F. Stephan Memorial Playhouse, in Meriden, CT, through Sunday, June 10.