Rumor has it Tryon Little Theater’s Rumors worth seeing

Published 10:43 pm Monday, November 18, 2013

by Robin A. Edgar
American playwright, Neil Simon, is known for making people laugh.  It’s no wonder that Tryon Little Theatre’s production of Neil’s first farce, Rumors, will do just that. Replete with slapstick antics and bawdy punch lines, the script provides enough mayhem and confusion to tickle your funny bone and perhaps even get you slapping your knees before long.
Directed by Debbie Craig-Archer, the action takes place at a 10th wedding anniversary party being held at a large, upper class suburban townhouse (with excellent set design by David Craig) of Charlie Brock, the Deputy Mayor of New York, and his wife Myra.
The first guests to arrive are the Brock’s lawyer, Ken Gorman (Brad Peterson) and his wife, Chris (Donna Everett). Finding the servants gone, Myra missing, and Charlie lying in a pool of blood from a gunshot would to his ear lobe, the Everett’s frantically try to get “the story” straight before the other guests arrive.
Their confusion, compounded by the other guests’ car accidents, back problems, and misunderstandings, quickly sends the play into a classic farcical tailspin.
The Brocks accountant, Lenny (Henry Bright) and Claire Ganz (Sandi Bright), arrive late  and, sensing something is awry, speculate about rumors they have heard about Charlie and Myra’s extramarital affairs.
Ken finally lets them in on the situation, but before they can agree on whether or not to call the police, the other guests, Charlie’s psychologist Ernie Cusack (Steve Harvey) and his wife, Cookie, (Lori Lee) arrive.
Trying to distract the Cusacks from prying into what has just happened; they ask Cookie, who has a cooking show, to prepare dinner. The last guests to arrive, Glenn Cooper (Ed Harrelson), who is running for State Senate, and his wife, Cassie (Mimi Alexander), are in the middle of an on-going marital argument.
Desperate to save Charlie’s reputation as well as their own, everyone conspires to conceal the evening’s events from the local police and the media. As they debate about what to do, Officer Welch (John Calure) and his sidekick, Officer Pudney (Susie DeLuciano) barge in and Lenny eventually launches into one of Simon’s classic comedy monologues, inventing a ridiculous stream of consciousness explanation for the evening’s events.
Besides Simon’s comedic script, one of the best parts of the show observing how much fun the cast is having. Comedy is not easy to pull off and their hard work pays off. It is Lee, however, who steals the show as Cookie with her cartoon character persona and hysterical unexpected back spasms.
Rumors runs November 14-17 and 21-24 at the TLT Workshop at 516 S. Trade St. in Tryon. Evening performances start at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 3 p.m..
Tickets are on sale at the Workshop box office (Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday 4-7 p.m). Call 828-859-2466 for more information, or to reserve tickets.

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