A View from the Cliff: Listen to “Rumors” in Brooklyn Heights

Welcome to an elegant dinner party. The men are well dressed and successful. Their wives are intelligent and stunning. Everything is just as you hoped. That is, until playwright Neil Simon throws some farcical curves. The result is the hilarious comedy, “Rumors.”

At Sunday afternoon’s performance, Director Joe Pacifico’s ensemble does not disappoint. They paint the author’s storyline with sometimes slick, sometimes slapstick, always uproarious strokes. James Martinelli leads the comical charge. His sudden but temporary injury generates a host of misstatements and missteps that are truly hysterical. Bravo!!

More sophisticated but equally funny is Lenny Ganz, played by Kerry Wolf. At first, he is merely frustrated by an anonymous hit-and-run that destroys his luxury vehicle. In the second act, he fabricates an outrageous alibi that leaves the others breathless.

Dr. Cusack (Raymond O. Wagner) and Glenn Cooper (Kevin McAuley) are the last two duplicitous male partygoers. Their roles are emphasized by significantly different attitudes towards their spouses. They ably participate in the complicated confusion and are ultimately just as likable. Officer Welch (Ed Healy) and Officer Pudney (Steven Ackerman) are the very amusing and very inevitable consequences of the evening’s gunshots and cover-ups. Yes, it IS a comedy!!

The four lovely ladies deserve high praise for their masterful interpretations of this 1980s farce. Not one line is overplayed or exaggerated. Bravisimas!! Melissa Croy as Cookie crawls and groans without losing her vintage dress. On the other hand, seductive Gretchen Grunzke as Cassie has a hard time keeping her legs in her evening gown. Hilary Goldman as Claire offers a brash and beautiful characterization as Len’s frustrated wife. Ultimately, Malary Lynn Nicoletti as glamorous Chris Gorman endures the longest comical abuse. She safeguards the night’s deceptions from the play’s opening moments until the final bows.

As usual, the creative staff provides the highest quality support. Kudos to Gary VanderPutten (set design), Nicoletti (costume design), Jan VanderPutten (props), Leo J. Contrino (lighting design), German Bosquez (sound design) and stage managers Corrine Contrino and Marialana Ardolino.

For information on this and future productions, surf to www.heightsplayers.org, like them on Facebook or call 718-237-2752. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.

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