Lots of laughs for ‘Rumors’ on first night

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SLU production pokes fun at wealthy elite

Funny Imitations: The new University Theatre show, “Rumors”, depicts the lives of several upper-class couples living in New York, afraid of losing their elite reputation. Eric Woolsey / University Theatre

On Feb. 20 and 21, the University Theatre debuted its newest show, “Rumors,” with shows at 8 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday nights. The play, written by famous American playwright Neil Simon, occurs during a dinner party for well-to-do couples in New York. Upon arrival, the first guests discover that their host is bleeding and that his wife has disappeared. In an attempt to avoid scandal, the host’s lawyer concocts an elaborate story to conceal the assumed truth. As the night progresses and more guests arrive, the evening spirals further and further out of control. A series of white lies and attempted cover-ups ultimately leads to a hysterical and absurd ending.

Each of the characters in this show seems to be a caricature of the rich, snobbish type. Tennis clubs and luxury cars are hot topics of conversation within the social group. They collect status symbols such as designer dresses – dresses they label according to the fundraiser to which they were first worn. The characters’ inflated egos and haughty attitudes conflict humorously with the chaos of the show’s plot.

The cast of the show poses on the set in Xavier Hall. The silly spectacle will run on Feb. 27, Feb. 28. and March 1. Eric Woolsey / University Theatre

This smart, farcical comedy highlights the absurdity of attempts to keep secrets and maintain appearances. The play’s pacing is fast and frantic, never allowing the audience to become bored. The expertly layered plot allows it to grow in hilarity as the show progresses, and the hysterical, fast-paced dialogue bounces effortlessly from one conundrum to the next. The opening-night audience was receptive to the show’s silliness, and the cast’s performance delivered laugh after laugh.

In a production of this highly character-driven play, a good cast is essential in order to capture the story’s true essence. This play’s witty dialogue could easily fall flat if not delivered properly. With this particular production of “Rumors,” however, faulty delivery is a non-issue. A talented and animated cast expertly brings out the full force of Simon’s comedic dialogue.

The show will be performed again at 8 p.m. on both Friday, Feb. 27 and Saturday, Feb. 28. There will also be a performance on Sunday, March 1 at 2 p.m. Do yourself a favor and stop by. The University Theatre’s production of “Rumors” is not to be missed.