RUMORS – IT’S A WINNER!
“Rumors” is a farce that frolics in plot situation with highflying, edgy slapstick. The cast delivers each situation with physical agility, hiding out, gunfire, running around frantically among all the rich furnishing. But even the trendy has their problems.
This is a home that was built for the ultra rich (Doctors, Lawyers and wanna be Mayors.) They must somehow get themselves out of a tangled web of money, servants, ditzy wife’s and husband’s follies.
In the posh suburban home, a party was supposed to be an event. But when the invited come in they find that the servants are missing, and they can’t seem to find the host. Then they hear a gunshot from an upstairs bedroom. It appears that the deputy mayor of New York – has shot himself through the earlobe. He was depressed, and took some Valium. Lucky for him, he missed his head and he only shot his ear. The guests all decided to keep the shooting secret from the local police.
There is more craziness. It involves car wrecks -- and an eccentric wife who has a cooking show. Her name naturally is “Cookie”. Love this line: “You’re running for State Senator? I wouldn’t run for you - for Chinese food!”
Things begin to settle down – after Lenny makes up a wild story to keep the cops off the track. But, ooops…there is one more thing. Something strange is going on in the basement. And I won’t tell you what it is.
This production at Center Rep. Theatre in Walnut Creek is a “Perfect Gem!” In the play is the “Best Acting ensembles that I have seen in ages!” It’s an absolute can’t miss! The cast truly burns up the stage.
THE EXHILARATING ACTORS THAT SET A NEW GOLD STANDARD - ARE: Michael Butler (Ernie) “Gripping”, Amanda Denison (Officer) “One of the best”, Lynda Divito (Claire) “Engrossing”, Jennifer Erdmann (Chris) “Provocative”, Mark Farrell (Ken) “Compelling”, Dorian Lockett (Officer Welch) “Good Job”, Gabriel Marin (Glenn) “Always Enormous Talent”, Mark Anderson Phillips (Lenny) “Jaw Dropping Performer”, Sharon Rietkerk (Cassie) “Hilarious” and Kirri Shawn (Cookie) “Magnetic”. Everyone is fabulous in this play – especially the hard-working Lenny (Mark Anderson Phillips. His comic charm just didn’t quit. Well, that’s it. I’ve run out of praises!
Oh, there is one more praise – and that’s for Director Timothy Near. – She made it “Rock!”
RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! – (highest rating) –trademarked-
NOW PLAYING AT CENTER REPERTORY THEATRE
Brittany Woodrow (Lady in the Lake) and Arthur Rowan (King Arthur). Photo: Scott Suchman
SPAMALOT – IRREVERANT PARODY
Monty Python’s Spamalot is a musical comedy was lovingly ripped off the 1975 film ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’. This Arthurian Legend is a lot different however. On the stage they get away with faux masterbation and many other sexual situations. Of course, the master-baters are French.
The audience gets the humor – so no one is offended in this Laugh-out-loud hi-jinks. The wonderful cast start out in the beginning in a Scandinavian village, with gaily dressed Finnish villagers, who sing and dance to the outrageous “Fisch Schlapping Song.” And I think they did Schlap a few butts.
Sir Robin collects plague victims, and Lance, a handsome, large man tries to dispose of the sickly - Not Dead Fred. But Fred recovers and sings the wildly funny “He is Not Dead yet”.
They go happily along their way in the Forest singing “Always Look at The Bright Side of Life.” But then, there is always someone who messes that up when a Knight from King Arthurs stable of Knights sez: “Life’s A Piece of S—t – when you look at it!” And they all looked.
Later in the show there is the riotous scene where a “Killer Rabbit” bites the head off of one of King Arthur’s Knights in the ‘dark and expensive forest’.
Arthur discovers the Lady of the Lake who hands him the famed Excalibur, before she swims away. Later we catch up with her again – but this time she is now “The Lady of the Lake and the Laker girls. They sing so well that they go on the road or at least the Forest. And they did make an appearance again at a gambling lodge – somewhat like Las Vegas. And of course, the wheel was spinning.
Love this little ditty: “You can sing and you can Dance. It won’t soil your pants.” I’m not too sure about that. I thought I saw some soiled pants.
There is this Song: - “You Won’t succeed on Broadway” unless you have some Jews. One of the actors shouts out at the Audience and sez – “We can’t put on a Broadway show without a “Jew. There must at least one Jew out there.” Yes, this show really gets everyone – not just Jews. Gays are also very prominent in the show. “One Knight says: “I thought you were a Fairy. Oh! No! That’s Lance-a lot.” Another sexual moment – “Get your hand off my knee - you dirty old bastard!”
But all in all – the merry Knights end up having a swell time. One Knight marries a Prince. King Arthur cuts off, a rivals Arms and then the guys legs. He ends up impaling the still-alive torso on a door. But the impaled guy is still singing – “Always look on the Bright side.” He is a cheery type.
Book and Lyrics by Eric Idle. Music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle. Direction recreated by BT McNicholl (Directed by Mike Nichols.)
The Show is from the original screenplay by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin.
NOW PLAYING AT THE ORPHEUM THEATRE
Rating Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-
Three Ladies in Sugar at 42nd Street Moon Theatre (Eureka Theatre); Courtesy Photo: 42nd Second Street Moon.
SUGAR – IS SWEETLY DONE
Sugar is lots of fun. Two unemployed musicians, bass player Jerry and saxophone Player Joe, are trying to escape a gangster. The musicians dress as women and join “Sweet Sue” and her Society Syncopaters, an all-female band, about to leave town for an engagement at a Miami Hotel.
Of course, like every mad-cap musical, complications arise when Joe, now known as Josephine, fall in love with ‘Sugar Cane’ – a gorgeous blond band singer. Oh, by the way, she has a slight drinking problem. Sugar would like to marry a millionaire – and what ditzy blond gold digger wouldn’t want to? Joe disguises himself as the rich man of her dreams. Problem is, he has to lead two lives – one in drag to avoid the gangsters and the other to wow Sugar Cane – he has to switch back to his manly look.
Total chaos takes over the stage as Spatz and his gang finally realize that Josephine and Daphne are really guys in drag playing the the “All Girl” band. There is lots of running around and hiding in the show – creating bushels of laughter.
The Choreography is very energizing. The Actors marvelously sing a terrific mix of great up lifting songs. It’s a must see musical for all musical lovers.
Sugar is one of those musicals where the fun is in the lyrics. You’re gonna enjoy this big blustery musical comedy. The performers nail every last laugh! It’s a ready-made ovation, just waiting for you to stand up and cheer.
Here is the outstanding cast: Michael Kern Cassidy (Joe)/Josephine) – RJ Casttaneda – Tyler Costin – Caleb Haven Draper – Michelle Drexler – Grant “Buzz” Halsing – Scott Hayes – Erica Kimble – riley Krull – Emily Morris – Tony Panighetti – Darlene Popovic – David Visini – Zack Thomas Wilde.
Astounding Direction is by: Dyan McBride. Grand Musical Direction by: Saif Eddin.
Rating: Three Glasses of Champagne!!! – trademarked-
The Photo of Lee Hartgrave Boy Reporter is by Jim Ferreira – Film Noir & Hollywood Glamour. www.lafterhall.com.
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