Review: ‘Rumors’ features humorous acting

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by Peter Diamond

Doors slam, gossip spreads and an impressive ensemble creates a comedic masterpiece in Neil Simon’s “Rumors,” directed by Spanish teacher Daniel Fabrizio, which goes up tonight through Saturday night at 7:30 in the auditorium.

When audience members first enter the auditorium, they see the beautiful scenery that features a two-story house with wall paintings, furniture and a functioning stairwell, an unbelievably engineered work of art designed by sophomore Elizabeth Reilly

The play opens as Ken, a lawyer played by junior Steven Kelly, and his wife Chris, played by senior Anna Nemetz, frantically phone a doctor to report that the deputy mayor of New York City, Charley Brock, has been injured immediately before his 10th wedding anniversary. Although they tell the doctor that the injury occurred because Brock fell downstairs, the couple secretly believes that Brock has attempted suicide. Meanwhile, Brock’s wife Myra is nowhere to be found.

Nemetz and Kelly instantly set the stage for a hysterical play. Their phone conversation with the doctor is fast-paced and farcical, preparing the audience for an evening of laughs.

More guests for the anniversary party soon begin to arrive. A friend named Lenny, played by senior Sam Raby, arrives with his wife Claire, played by senior Eliza Burr, after experiencing whiplash from an automobile accident on the drive over.

Raby and Burr demand the audience’s attention the moment they enter by portraying a humorous stereotype of an affluent couple. Their comedic timing is brilliant as they banter about rumors of Brock and Myra’s potential infidelity spread around their tennis club.

Soon after, an elderly cooking show host, Cookie, played by junior Kelsey Fox, enters with her analyst husband Ernie, played by junior Jake Ezzell. These two actors deliver clever performances by highlighting the eccentricities of a quirky elderly couple. Throughout the play, they provide numerous comedic moments and are a pleasure to watch.

By the time the final guests arrive, who are a state senatorial candidate named Glenn, played by sophomore Nico Krauss, and his promiscuous wife Cassie, played by junior Mackenzie Dreese, passions run high among the party guests. Right before Glen and Cassie’s arrival, a gun has been fired mysteriously in the room and the couples struggle to create alibis to protect a suicidal Brock’s reputation from the public.

The more the plot escalates, the more the cast becomes a united force. The ensemble’s wonderful chemistry becomes especially prevalent during the second act, when actors earn laughs by arguing passionately and farcically. In one especially humorous scene, Dreese accuses Krauss of cheating on her and retaliates by flirting with other men at the party, consequently vexing Krauss as well as many wives.

The tour de force reaches its climax toward the end of the play, when two police officers, played by junior Alex Shames and freshman Ellen Batutis, arrive at the party demanding an explanation for Brock and Myra’s absence. Raby addresses them with the funniest monologue in the entire play. In the monologue, he improvises explanations for the mysterious gunshot and the incredulousness of the aristocrats.

By the end of the play, the auditorium fills with laughter and applause, a reaction to the masterful comedy presented by the cast of “Rumors.”

To witness the cast’s skillful performances, buy tickets at theatreink.net or outside the cafeteria during all lunches.

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