Thursday, June 18, 2015

reviews - RUMORS - Desert Stages Theatre

the cast of Rumors
photo credit: Wade Moran

highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)  

Click here for more information on this production that runs through July 26th

"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." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"A bullet train of laughs is reverberating across the..walls of Desert Stages Theatre, thanks to the deft direction of Virginia Olivieri and Gary Zaro and the quirky comic thespians who breathe fire into the script of Neil Simon's elegant farce, Rumors....It's a manic non-stop Niagara Falls of laughs, one-liners, wordplays, allusions, deceptions and all-around cavorting, all in the name of CYA....The bottom line is that this production is well-crafted and well-played. The chemistry among the characters is finely tuned, most especially between Ms. Carpenter and Ms. Garland whose timing and gestures are priceless. Mr. Fiscus is an explosive force on stage, barrel-assing over divan and staircase from one recrimination to another. After a couple of hours of madcap mayhem, each member of the ensemble has etched a memorable portrait of the rich and famous poseurs....Are there moments when Mr. Simon's script gets a bit cartoonish, tedious and strained? Surely. But it is a testament to the cast that they maintain an electric pace and keep the comedy surging ahead. Do the set pieces bespeak the lavish décor of a mansion? No. But, who cares? The set by Ms. Olivieri and Matt Stetler is impressive, and Tamara Treat's costumes are smartly tailored. It is a testament to co-directors Olivieri and Zaro that they more than make do with the resources that they have and creatively engineer a production and guide a cast that proves ultimately that the play's the thing!...Rumors runs roaringly rampant and needs to be seen to be believed!" -Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

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