Crime, drama, gossip, affairs—what more could you possibly want in a play? Trinity College Drama Society put on a humorous production of Neil Simon’s play Rumors, directed by Vanessa Perruzza at the George Ignatieff Theatre. Peruzza explained that the production process of the show spanned three months.
This is a comedic play about all the things that can, and do, go wrong at an upscale dinner party in New York City. Charley Brock, a character who is never seen, shoots himself through his earlobe and his wife, Myra, who is also never seen in the play, is missing. All of Charley’s friends, who were invited to his party, are left to speculate about why Charley shot himself.
The energy every cast member brought to the stage was incredible. The show opens with Ken (Vanessa Perruzza) and Chris (Kenzie Tsang) frantically trying to explain to Charley’s doctor, Dr. Dudley, over the phone, that he is hurt without telling him that he shot himself through the earlobe. This scene set the tone for what viewers could expect from the rest of the play—high energy and humour. As the show goes on, the lies and stories about what happened to Charley and why Myra isn’t there become elaborate, unrealistic, and increasingly hilarious.
I thought the best performances were given by Kenzie Tsang as Chris and Eiléanór O’Halloran as Claire. There are many facets to the characters of Chris and Claire. They go from acting relatively calm and collected about the situation, to completely freaking out and panicking, to stumbling around drunk. They portray their characters in a very realistic, yet funny, way. It was highly entertaining to watch their characters change and evolve throughout the show.
There were also a series of really great running jokes throughout the show. When Cookie (Vivian Xie) initially points out that all the men’s names rhyme: Ken, Len, and Glenn. Cookie also points out that all the women’s names start with the letter C: Chris, Claire, Cookie, and Cassie. The audience stops and considers this. From that point on, the odd similarity between the names is brought up a few more times. Whenever it is brought up, it still makes the audience laugh.
There’s also the running gag of Ken’s temporary deafness when he accidentally shoots Charley’s gun again, trying to get the gun out of the reach of Charley. Through the end of act one and beginning of act two, Ken gets progressively louder and the things he mishears get funnier, especially the names of the guests at the party, because all the men’s names rhyme.
While the energy dwindled a little bit at the beginning of act two, it quickly picked up again with the arrival of the police officers (Drew Eisenberg-Holmes and Sara Durante). Worried that the police are here about the gunshots, the friends concoct a whole string of poorly thought out lies to protect themselves. Near the end of the second act, Lenny (Gianni Sallese) appeared in Charley’s pajamas with his head wrapped in bandages pretending to be Charley, and delivered an impressive, nearly five-minute long, fast-paced monologue explanation to the police for all the events that occurred that evening. His rambling monologue leaves the other characters and the audience wondering how he came up with such a story.
In the end, the police are satisfied with his story, and Charley is ready to tell his friends the real story about why he shot himself—that’s where the story ends.
Rumours ran until November 25 at the George Ignatieff Theatre.