ONSTAGE in Bedford
Director – David Wilson-Brown
Set Design – Jim Scroggins
Lighting Design – Michael Winters
Costume Design – Melanie Mason
Sound Design – David Wilson-Brown and Heather Moore
Stage Manager – Heather Moore
Chris Gorman – Melanie Mason
Ken Gorman – Steve Morris
Claire Ganz – Elizabeth Conly
Lenny Ganz – Brian Prescott
Ernie Cusack – Michael Prescott
Cookie Cusack – Cathy Pritchett
Glenn Cooper – William Kledas
Cassie Cooper – Lindsay Hayward
Officer Welch – Kelly Norman
Officer Pudney – Dale Shelton
Reviewed Performance 2/8/2015
Reviewed by Elaine Plybon, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Playwright Neil Simon has penned over thirty plays, many of which have enjoyed and continue to enjoy success. Rumors, the first farce by Simon, opened on Broadway in 1988. Its run lasted for nearly 600 performances. Although Simon is known for plays that have underlying meaning and thought, Rumors is comedy for the sake of laughs.
ONSTAGE in Bedford’s production included a cast whose comedic timing intensified the effect of Simon’s sharp pen, resulting in an evening of entertainment and continuous amusement.
At the helm, Director David Wilson-Brown gathered actors whose chemistry mixed well together and whose delivery was impeccable. The quick timing demanded of them was met consistently and expertly. It was delightful to witness the smooth connection between the players.
Set design by Jim Scroggins was believable and detailed, yet uncluttered. Realistically designed on the proscenium stage, it consists of the living room of Deputy Mayor Charlie Brock and his wife Myra. Upstage is the front door to the house, a stairway and landing. Downstage are seating areas used heavily throughout the play. A bar is situated stage left and the exit to the kitchen stage right.
Lighting design by Michael Winters and sound design by Wilson-Brown and Heather Moore were adequate to the action. The ringing of the telephone was, at times, distracting because of the sound coming from the audience seating rather than from the stage.
Costume design by Melanie Mason was well thought out, with women wearing cocktail dresses and pantsuits appropriate to an upscale dinner party, while men wore suit jackets and polished shoes to complement their partners. The setting was contemporary so there were no issues with period costumes to overcome.
The action begins after Chris and Ken Gorman, played by Melanie Mason and Steve Morris, have arrived at the Brock’s home to celebrate their 10th anniversary. The housekeeper, cook, and Mrs. Brock are missing, and Charlie has just shot himself through the earlobe. Throughout the evening, more couples arrive and soon all are drawn into speculation and cover up.
As Chris Gorman, Mason’s energy and distraction throughout the play was consistent and sufficiently harried. Mason’s physical actions as she shook with desire for a smoke and paced about every square foot of the visible stage kept the action moving and interesting.
Morris, in the role of Ken, was at times a bit high strung and his vocal range a little too high-pitched to suit the occasion. Still, his performance was consistent and his timing worked well with both the content of the dialogue and the activities at hand
Claire and Lenny Ganz, the second couple on the scene, were played by Elizabeth Conly and Brian Prescott. This pair had great chemistry and their collective acting experience shone through their performances. Conly’s cool saunter back and forth across the stage personified Claire Ganz perfectly, and her subsequent transitions between calm, collectedness and frantic confusion were never over-the-top.
Prescott’s performance was the best of the evening. A dialogue-heavy part, Lenny could easily be played too strongly, but Prescott delivered the perfect mix of swagger and uncertainty and his New York accent was spot on throughout.
Michael Prescott and Cathy Pritchett portrayed Ernie and Cookie Cusack. As a couple, the duo did a great job showering each other with just the right amount of devotion and sugar-coated nicknames to perfectly depict the dynamics between Prescott’s psychologist and Pritchett’s TV chef. Prescott’s comedic timing was impeccable and added to the entertainment.
The final couple to arrive at the dinner party was Glenn and Cassie Cooper, played by William Kledas and Lindsay Hayward. Kledas maintained a stuffy demeanor suitable to the state senator who couldn’t afford a scandal. Hayward was the Marilyn Monroe to Kledas’ John F. Kennedy, with short dress, blonde hair, a bit too much eyeliner and a tendency to err on the side of jealousy. With even the simplest facial expressions, Hayward’s performance told the underlying story unfolding between the Coopers while the insanity of the evening ensued.
Rumors contains an entertaining set of circumstances, and a perfectly written script with a somewhat predictable ending that leaves the audience uncertain of the real story behind the plot. The cast and crew of ONSTAGE in Bedford’s production provided the perfect interpretation and timing necessary to generate a comfortable and thoroughly enjoyable experience and an escape to laughter.
ONSTAGE in Bedford
2821 Forest Ridge Dr.
Bedford, TX 76021
FINAL WEEK through February 15th
Friday-Saturday at 8:00 pm, Sunday at 3:00 pm
Tickets are $19.99, $14.99 for seniors, students and Bedford residents
For information and to purchase tickets, visit www.onstageinbedford.com or call the box office at 817-354-6444.