What happens when guests arrive to find a potential scandal at the Deputy Mayor of New York’s anniversary party? Like many classic farces, Neil Simon’s Rumors involves a group of wealthy and well-dressed people lying about completely inconsequential things in entirely self-serving ways.
Should you see it?
The characters of Rumors have found themselves in a compromising position – or so they seem to think. They’ve turned up to Charley Brock’s tenth anniversary to find him high on Valium, with a missing wife and a bullet hole through his earlobe. Since this is a farce, no one really cares about what really happened. Instead, they opt to attempt to protect their reputations with lies that become increasingly more outrageous and out of control.
It’s a lot of fun to watch characters who take themselves so seriously in a show that clearly doesn’t. The web of lies gets so convoluted that it’s easy to lose track – but it’s amusing to sit back and watch the chaos and confusion ensue as a result.
Rumors features great performances and fantastic physical comedy from its cast. Steve Martin is the highlight, with a just-right accent and the quippiest, funniest lines. He steals the show near the end with a ridiculous monologue, delivered with a wonderful combination of confidence and bewilderment. Joyce Landry and Bob Hicks as the couple who are the first to arrive are a lot of fun as the ones who kick-start all the lies. Dianna Renée Yorke also shines as a seductive drama queen who complicates the situation even more.
It did feels like Rumors ran a little long and there were times that I found my attention wandering. A few scenes or exchanges felt like they lasted forever, including an odd dance sequence that felt out of place. However, Joe O’Brien’s dynamic direction and lots of movement keeps the production going as briskly as possible.
There’s a little something for everyone in Rumors; slapstick, witty dialogue, silly jokes, outrageous lies, gorgeous costumes, 80’s references and actors who look like they’re having a blast. It’s a really fun start to Ottawa Little Theatre’s 101st season.
But that’s just my opinion. Who was your favorite character? Did you find it hilarious or did the elaborate lies leave your head spinning? Tell me in the comments!
For full details on Rumors, check out our preview.