THEATER REVIEW: Strong cast wrings hearty laughs from witty ‘Rumors’

THEATER REVIEW:Rumors’ / The Two of Us Productions / Taconic Hills School District Performing Arts Center, Craryville
IT IS NOT NEWS that human beings want to, need to, must laugh. Laughing is up there with survival stuff like food, shelter and sex. Sophisticated wit is good for it. Intellectually tinted satire or dark irony can be satisfying.
But occasionally, into each life, some unadulterated silliness must fall. Best to lean back, open arms and get drenched.
The Two of us Productions (Connie Lopez and Steve Sanborn) has mounted the 1988 Neil Simon
confection “Rumors” with an attractive cast of grownups. The grownups, dressed (mostly) in spiffy black formal wear, inhabit an elegant beige, brown and white room. They are waiting to partake of a
dinner/celebration. The room has three white doors and a pair of French ones to telegraph the news that a farce may ensue.

“Rumors” abound for one more weekend: Friday through Sunday, May 26 to 28. Seen here are (l-r) Diane Boice-Yorck, Cyndi Miller, Matt Leinung, Connie Lopez and Mark Leinung. Curtain times at the Performing Arts Center at the Taconic Hills School are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20, with discounts available. Reservations at thetwoofusproductions.org or 518 758- 1648. Photo by Nicole Seipp

I mention that these are grownups because, after you witness their group decision-making by means of finger games and outrageous (probably unnecessary) narrative creativity, you may need reminding. They explain, distort, mix and extravagantly decorate their circumstances.

There are four couples. Calamities (mostly physical) afflict most of the men. Actor Chris Bailey inhabits the central role of Lenny Ganz, whose white hair, smarts, bulk and energy give him
authority in the group. It is he who delivers the final “story” in a hilarious monologue that peaks the play.
A couple of handsome Leinung actors (Mark and Matt) as lawyer and politician are excellent.
Lopez is glamorous and charming as the mildly ditzy, Chris. Diane Boice-Yorck exudes something warm and real toward her mate, Lenny. Nicole Molinski is gorgeous though afflicted with bent
wrist syndrome, an affectation suffered only by good-looking actresses. (Don’t ask. You’ll see it.)
Cookie (played wonderfully by Cyndi Miller) apparently has not received the memo about black attire. She spends the evening in physical pain, a mental fog and a fluffy dress with large, pinky-lavender flowers on it.
Ken Goldfarb as Ernie could benefit from a little less arm-action; and more voice from Brian Yorck as the cop would be welcome, though he nails the character.
“I didn’t believe it, but I liked it,” he says after hearing Lenny’s “story.”
(And so didn’t and did the audience.)
The huge stage at Taconic Hills High School is a blessing to be appreciated for plays that require grand, upscale rooms or complicated settings, or space for hordes of dancing girls. However, on opening night of “Rumors,” the cavernous auditorium, peopled by a small audience, was not a plus. Out there, we wanted to laugh more and louder, but the spaces were intimidating.
“Rumors” is not “Saturday Night Live” or “Noises Off” or a play by Moliere. It is unabashed silliness. But go ahead. Surrender.
Visit thetwoofusproductions.org for ticket-purchase info. Performances run through May 28.

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