“Rumors” uproarious start to MLT season

Mines Little Theatre successfully began their season with their production of “Rumors,” a farce by Neil Simon. The play was directed by Kayla Boos and starred Abby Branch, Alex Dell, Daniel May, and Mark Shivers.

The plot of “Rumors” opens in chaos and only descends from there. Wealthy lawyers Chris and Ken Gorman (Abby Branch and Alex Dell) attend a party at the home of their friend Charlie Brock and discover him shooting himself in the ear and his wife missing altogether. Unfortunately for Charlie, the many prominent party guests know that attempted suicide is a crime. Much of the play then revolves around the Gormans and an ever-expanding circle of guests attempting to hide the snowballing disaster from each other and the outside world.

Also joining the cast are Charlie’s accountant Lenny (Daniel May), his gossipy wife Claire Ganz (Kylie Herzik), Charlie’s analyst Ernie Cusack (Mark Shivers), his analyst’s celebrity cook wife Cookie Cusack (Anna O’Rourke), troubled politician Glenn Cooper (Ryan Stewart) and his jealous, hard-drinking, crystal-using wife Cassie Cooper (Athena Ryals). Late-arriving police officers Welch (TJ Taylor) and Pudney (Jordan Eisel) round out the crazy cast.

Although there were a few faults, the play greatly amused its fair-sized audience. Highlights included Herzik’s darkly sarcastic Claire, Shivers’ completely clueless Ernie, and May’s largest scene in which Lenny creates an entire ridiculous, fictional account of the play’s events. Ryals also deserves a mention as Cassie Cooper, making her relatively small role memorable. Stewart was appropriately hate-able as loathsome politician Glenn. Branch’s hysterical Chris initially seemed a bit disenchanting, but as the play went on he became much more natural and fit right in. Dell’s best moments as Ken occurred when the character was temporarily deaf, but his lawyer sometimes seemed a bit timid. O’Rourke, as Cookie, was not as engaging as some of the other characters, likely due to the unique nature of her character.

Overall, the play accomplished its purpose as it left the audience in stitches. Laughs abounded from Chris and Ken Gorman’s initial call to the characters’ common doctor Dr. Dudley, running jokes about coordinated names, temporary deafness, back pain, and BMWs to the character’s concerns about police detection at the very end. On a five point scale, MLT’s production of “Rumors” earns a 4.5, certainly engaging and well-done, but not perfect. The club will next perform “Fools,” also by Neil Simon, in Metals Hall November 11 and 12.

Copyright © 2020 The Oredigger Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.