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Neil Simon’s “Rumors”

THEATER REVIEW: ‘Rumors’ has it in Gloucester

By Keith Powers/correspondent
Cape Ann Beacon
Posted Mar 24, 2012 @ 09:23 AM

From left, Lauren Ashley Suchecki, Joey Arsenault, Marc St. Pierre and Sheryl Reed in a scene from Neil Simon’s ‘Rumors,’ which runs at the Gorton Theatre March 23 through April 1.

If you go…

WHAT Cape Ann Theater Collaborative presents Neil Simon’s “Rumors”

WHERE Gorton Theatre, 267 East Main St., Gloucester

WHEN March 24, 29, 30, 31 at 8 p.m. March 25 and April 1, 3 p.m.

TICKETS $15. Call 978-325-3153 or online at http://www.catcollaborative.org.

There’s truth, and there are rumors. Take it from anyone who sees the Cape Ann Theater Collaborative’s production of Neil Simon’s great farce, “Rumors” are a lot more fun.

The supercharged send-up of New York high life opened Thursday evening for a two-week run at the Gorton Theatre. With a hard-working cast that rarely lets a good line fall flat—and with plenty of great lines to deliver—“Rumors” was a laugh riot from the first entrance.

Neil Simon’s official biography starts simply: “He is the world’s most successful living playwright.” Nobody in their right mind would argue with that. Plays like “Plaza Suite,” “The Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” “The Odd Couple,” and “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” and musicals like “The Goodbye Girl,” have been so popular that the guy has his own Broadway theater now.

With the amped-up pace and incredible writing of “Rumors,” Simon creates a scenario where a dinner party with no hosts, no food, and eight guests making up different stories about why it’s all happening seem perfectly plausible—if not downright preposterous at the same time.

CAT has clearly worked hard to make this production a success. Comedy is hard enough to play for starters, but in this comedy, where the funny lines overlap from the moment the lights go down, and each scene builds to some absurd crescendo, any dead air kills the momentum.

The story unfolds as tony guests arrive at a posh New York suburban home (Ray Jenness’ sets captured pretentious 1980s New York perfectly, with throw pillows matching the wall paintings) to find the hostess and staff missing, and the host upstairs with gunshot wound to the earlobe.

Why? We never really do find out, but trying to, and various coverups that the guests dream up to protect themselves from “scandal,” make for lots of fun.

The entire cast gets credit for understanding the adrenaline rush that Simon creates, and transferring it to the stage. Standing out among them were Cliff Blake, who as the whiplashed Lenny had already nailed his role even before his show-stopping monologue at the climax, where he explains ex-tempore to a police office what has transpired. Pauline Miceli and Marc St. Pierre, who as the Gormans are the first couple to arrive and start the frenetic action off with booze-filled, anxiety laced imaginings, couldn’t have been cast any better. Sheryl Reed as Lenny’s diffident wife Claire, Joey Arsenault Lawson and Carolyn Aliskevicz as the professionally successful but maturity-challenged Cusacks, and the warring Coopers, played by Robert Kent and Lauren Ashly Suchecki, complete the self-centered dinner party guest list.

“Rumors” has it. And CAT, now in its third season, makes sure the playing raises itself to the level of the book. The production runs through April 1, and the performance on March 29 benefits the Lane’s Cove Fish Shack restoration project.

Read more: THEATER REVIEW: ‘Rumors’ has it in Gloucester – Rockport, MA – Wicked Local Rockport http://www.wickedlocal.com/gloucester/news/x1262978042/THEATER-REVIEW-Rumors-has-it-in-Gloucester#ixzz1q3Tv5zsu

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