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a Play
by Neil Simon

COMPANY : Milton Community Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Northwestern Middle School [WEBSITE]
ID# 5465

SHOWING : April 12, 2019 - April 21, 2019



At a large, tastefully-appointed Sneden's Landing townhouse, the Deputy Mayor of New York has just shot himself. Though only a flesh wound, four couples are about to experience a severe attack of Farce. Gathering for their tenth wedding anniversary, the host lies bleeding in the other room, and his wife is nowhere in sight. His lawyer, Ken, and wife, Chris, must get "the story" straight before the other guests arrive. As the confusions and mis-communications mount, the evening spins off into classic farcical hilarity.

Director Jonathan Goff
Ernie Cusack Chris Carrollton
Lenny Ganz Jeremy Choate
Ken Gorman Loren Collins
Cassie Cooper Alyssa Davis
Officer Welch Devin Ellery
Chris Gorman Sanika Harris
Officer Pudney Amanii McCray
Glenn Cooper Jesse McWhorter
Claire Ganz Carla Selden
Cookie Cusack Lauren Rachel Wall
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A Rumor of Comedy
by playgoer
Monday, May 20, 2019
Milton Community Theatre’s inaugural production of Neil Simon’s "Rumors" shows great promise for the new company. Director Jonathan Goff has created a production that lets the comedy of Simon’s script shine brightly. Pacing is perhaps not all it could be for a farce, put it comes together at all the right points to keep the action rolling.

The set, designed by the director and Bill Purdie, represents an elegant living room, bar at far stage right, table and chairs center right, and sofa and chair stage left. The cream walls with maroon wainscoting are interrupted by doors and openings -- kitchen opening at stage right, powder room door up right, front door up left (although it is indistinguishable from the other doors), and basement door down left. A staircase up center leads to openings on either side of a platform. It’s all tasteful and understated, if a bit bland, with standard-issue artwork on the walls. Costumes, designed by Julie Resh, add a bit more flair, and Jessica Williams’ props help populate the play.

Performances by the ten actors build on the eccentricities implicit in Simon’s script. Loren Collins’ lawyerly demeanor ricochets into a series of non-stop hard-of-hearing jokes. Sanika Harris, as his statuesque wife, lives on the edge of a nervous breakdown until resuming her smoking habit. Jeremy N. Choate’s deadpan delivery underlines the humor of his lines, while Carla Selden’s expressive face and barbed comments add a humor of their own. Chris Carrollton and Lauren Wall, as another married couple, get the lion’s share of physical comedy, while the tension in the married couple played by Jesse McWhorter and Alyssa Davis sparks a different kind of comedy altogether. The police officers played by Devin Ellery and Amanii McCray don’t appear until the second act, but they hold their own.

What doesn’t work in this production is the sound design. Performances are held in a cavernous middle school gymnasium with echo-y acoustics. The actors sport head mics, but don’t all project at the same level, so sound levels are very inconsistent. Add in missed and ill-timed sound cues, and the sound component of the show is well below par. Lighting, on the other hand, adds in nice headlight effects through a window to augment what is otherwise a fairly basic lighting scheme.

Jonathan Goff has blocked the show to keep sightlines good on the actor-filled stage. It helps that the stage is raised and wide. It doesn’t help that the uncomfortable plastic seats in the audience are all on the same level. Still, the show moves along on Simon’s one-liners and the character-specific delivery of the actors. Rumors of a promising new theatre company in town are true. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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