Sunday, June 11, 2017

Rumors—Twilight Theater Company—N. Portland

"What Webs We Weave”

This early comedy, by the master comedic playwright, Neil Simon, is directed by Maury Evans.  It is playing at Twilight’s space, just off Lombard (upstairs), 7515 N. Brandon Ave. (free, small parking lot across from the theater), through June 25th.  For more information, go to their site at www.twilighttheatercompany.org or call 503-847-9838.

The play’s title is a bit of a misnomer as, although there are a couple of rumors characters bat about early on, the bulk of the play involves the deep holes we dig for ourselves when we try to avoid or cover up the truth of a situation.  But, that being said, these party guests take the cake for fabrication, as they spin and weave as no clothier ever could and, in the end, is an absolute masterpiece of misdirection.  Even then, though, they seem to lose the thread of the tale as it grows.

It starts out innocently enough, as eight upper-class friends arrive at the house of the deputy mayor to help celebrate his and his wife’s 10th anniversary.  But, as it turns out, we discover from the first arrivals, the high-strung, Ken (Rob Harris), and his determined wife, Chris (Alicia Turvin), both lawyers, that there has been an “accident” in their host’s home, that he has been shot, and his wife and servants are AWOL.  Their legal minds begin to churn, not wanting publicity for political reasons, and decide to disguise the truth, as other guests arrive.  (This could easily be a play-book for a current administration, I believe).

And, right on cue, a very upset, Lenny (Richard Barr), a CPA, and his more subdued wife, Clair (Laura Myers), manage to creep in, disheveled, as they have been in an accident.  Not long after them, a neurotic, Cookie (Greg Saum), a television, gourmet cook with a bad back, and her analyst husband, Ernie (Andy Roberts), make an entrance.  Then the final party guests appear on the scene, a State Senator wannabe, Glenn (Ian Leiner), and his sexy but ditzy wife, Cassie (Amanda Anderson), battling with each other.  All there true colors come out, as they discover the facts of the situation, but do they know the real story.

Of course, the one thing you don’t want to happen at his juncture, is for the police to arrive and, guess what, they do, in the form of Officer Welch (Tony Domingue), a take-charge kind of guy and his quiet partner, Officer Pudney (Rebecca Ovall).  Finally the truth must come out…but does it?!  Most of the exchanges you must experience for yourselves, as Simon is a master at comic writing, and I can’t give you any more of the plot without being a spoiler.

Evans has done a terrific job of staging this show, as well as finding all the subtle nuances and overt overtures that add immensely to the fun of the production.  He also has a very good cast.  They all have their shining moments.  Harris, a familiar and welcome actor in Twilight’s shows, as the ultimate example of fingernails on a chalkboard in human form, is amazing.  Barr as the concluding concoctor of the long-winded plot, truly deserved the applause he received after delivering the final blow.  Myers is a gem of under-playing, having a dry humor that is a perfect addition to the mad-cap mania occurring around her. Saum, as the suffering chef, chaffing for attention, is hilarious (eat your heart out, Harvey Firestein).  And Domingue, as the lone voice of reason, is a steadfast, solidifying force amongst the chaos.  But, as mentioned, they are all spot on.

I recommend this show.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.