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Rumors at Cloverdale performing Arts - Reviewed by Malena Eljumaily

thumb_2_Rumors-4 Dan Stryker-Andrea Rosales-Jacinto - 600.jpg

Rumors at Cloverdale performing Arts - Reviewed by Malena Eljumaily

Cloverdale Performing Arts Center opens its 10th season with the Neil Simon comedy, Rumors. It's a good choice since Simon is so reliable. We know we're going to laugh, be entertained and not have to over think in order to enjoy the play.

The ensemble cast portray four married couples convening at the home of another couple, Charlie and Myra, for their 10th anniversary celebration. They are all well-to-do New York liberals,  very comfortable in their tuxedos and evening gowns. References to fund-raisers those gowns might have been worn to previously are hilarious.

back row L-R--- Austin Schmidt (GLENN), Emily Stryker (CHRIS), front row L-R---Dee Dee Robbins (COOKIE), Andrea Rosales-Jacinto (CLAIRE), Chris Johnston (KEN), Jude Gibson-Byers (ERNIE).The first couple we meet are the Gormans, Ken (Chris Johnston) and Chris (Emily Stryker,) who find the hostess missing, the help missing, and the host upstairs in the bedroom, having just attempted to kill himself. Or has he? Could it have been an accident?

When Lenny and Claire Ganz (Daniel Gordon Stryker and Andrea Rosales-Jacinto) arrive they know something's up, but what could it be? The rumors of the title begin to swirl. Soon the Cusacks (Jude Gibson-Byers, Dee Dee Robbins) show up, followed by the ever-quarreling Coopers played by Austin Schmidt and Jessika Jacques.

All the actors were wonderful. I believed the couples were married to each other.  There was a breezy familiarity between each of them that rang true. Credit might be due to the playwright for that, but also to the actors who managed to come across as urbane while delivering rapid-fire lines without missing a beat. Rumors has a faster pace than most of Neil Simon's other plays I've seen. More of a farce, with lots of quick exits and doors banging. There is also a funny running joke with the doctor calling and fun to be had by characters describing what they see while looking out the window.

 L-R---Chris Johnston (KEN), Dan Stryker (LENNY), Jude Gibson-Byers (ERNIE), Austin Schmidt (GLENN)

Director Yave Guzman, (also artistic director for CPAC and set designer for this production) does a fine job of bringing order to the constant comings and goings of these characters. There is always a bit of chaos, but it all works like a fine-tuned machine. He makes good use of the set; the upstairs, downstairs and off to the sides staging adds to the fun.

The costumes, as mentioned above, are tuxedos for the men and gowns for the women. Mckenzie Pepper does an admirable job of convincing us these couples are upper class, but not uber rich. And New Yorkers, meaning lots of black. The hairstyles are also spot on.

If you are a big Neil Simon fan, you won't be disappointed with Rumors.  If you don't know his work, then treat yourself to this production. Simon is an important American playwright. The fact that he writes comedies should not diminish that. Come celebrate CPAC's tenth anniversary season with a glass of wine and a comedy that is guaranteed to make you laugh.

Running February 17, 18, 24, 25 at 7:30pm, February 19 and 26 at 2pm.

Cloverdale Performing Arts Center
209 N Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale, CA 95425

 (707) 894-2214

Photos by John Gobeille