‘Rumors’ Presents Dysfunctional Communication

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Cindy Dellinger and Ron Wells.

Full of caustic one-liners and constant kvetching, the Vagabond Players Theatre Company’s presentation of Neil Simon’s Rumors contains fine acting and physical humor that occasionally misses its mark.

Four affluent couples arrive at the home of their friend the deputy mayor and his wife to help celebrate their 10th anniversary, only to find him bleeding from a superficial head wound, his wife missing, and the help gone. Each of the couples faces their own issues, and power plays erupt between each other. Can they solve the mystery without attacking each other?

Director Lewis Hauser keeps the action moving around the big stage, which helps cover the somewhat flat spots. He creates some nice images through the choreographed scenes.

The large cast gives good performances after they relax, but some seem tentative and unsure of lines, making the performance a little flat. Cindy Dellinger brings a sweet, ditzy charm to the frazzled Chris Gorman. Ron Wells and Nina Varano, as Glenn and Cassie Cooper, respectively, possess a natural chemistry as an argumentative young couple. As the pushy Lenny Ganz, Michael Homeier stands out with his animated and expressive performance and broad comic timing.

The first act seems too much a scream fest before the actors become more secure and settled in the second half. The play contains adult language and situations. Production values add an elegant touch to the proceedings.

A tad dated, Rumors contains humorous situations and fine acting as it reveals a night where everything falls apart.

The Vagabond Players Theatre Company presents Neil Simon’s Rumors Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. through November 27 at the Whitmore-Lindley Theater Center, 11006 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. Tickets cost $20, with student, senior, and group discounts. For reservations, call (818) 206-4000.

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