Thursday, June 18, 2015

theatre review - RUMORS - Desert Stages Theatre - June 14

the cast of Rumors
photo credit: Wade Moran
Click here to read my complete review (highlights below) at

"From The Odd Couple to Brighton Beach Memoirs, Neil Simon has written many classic comedies, but his 1988 Rumors was his first attempt at writing a comedy modeled after a traditional farce. The story of four wealthy couples caught up in chaos and confusion has an abundance of humor, and Desert Stages' production makes for a fun-filled time with a winning cast and fast-paced direction....
It's the 10th wedding anniversary of wealthy Charlie Brock...and his wife Myra. They've invited some of their well to do friends over to celebrate, but there is one small problem: it seems someone has shot Charlie in the head. Fortunately, the bullet only graced his earlobe and he has fallen asleep in his upstairs bedroom after taking some Valium. But was it an attempted suicide or a botched murder? And why have Myra and all of the kitchen staff disappeared? ...Co-directors Virginia Olivieri and Gary Zaro have cast a good group of actors that form a well-oiled ensemble. While not everyone is as gifted in creating a fully fleshed out character...they all end up creating fairly believable characters and do a fine job of delivering the jokes with ease in this virtually nonstop laugh fest....The best of the bunch is the crackerjack team of Tim Fiscus and Amy Garland who play Lenny, Charlie's accountant, and his wife Claire. Fiscus whips himself up into a fever pitch, throwing himself into the numerous physical comedy moments that elicit plenty of laughs. Garland's comical line delivery combined with her sarcastic, agitated looks and gestures are priceless. They form a very realistic and believable couple, as do Wade Moran and Heidi Carpenter as Ken and Chris, the first couple to arrive. Moran does a great job making Ken an energetic, agitated, and expressive mess, and is a hoot when he partially loses his hearing. Carpenter is a gem as the confused wife who can't quite remember who she has told the truth to and who she hasn't. Carpenter and Garland also make you believe they've been good friends for a very long time....Olivieri and Zaro have done a very good job of ensuring that the pacing never lags, that their actors deliver the jokes with ease, and that the requisite timing of the farce, with the entrances and exits of the cast members through the synchronized opening and closing of the five doors on stage, are perfectly timed....While Rumors may have been Simon's first attempt at writing a farce, the end result of nonstop hijinks, crazy characters, wild situations, and plenty of laughter shows how gifted a comedy writer he is. DST's production is a lot of fun, with solid direction, effective creative touches and a good cast that includes an exceptional comedic performance by Tim Fiscus and effective work by Amy Garland, Wade Moran and Heidi Carpenter."

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