Neil Simon’s prolific catalogue of plays and films tend to follow a trusted theme that included messages disguised in comedy. Rumours is not his best ever script, when compared, say, with the Odd Couple, but the performance by the Tea Tree Players led by Director Samuel Creighton milked the script and squeezed every possible laugh with their ‘over the top’ antics. The planned dinner party is doomed from the start when the host has seemingly been shot and the hostess cannot be found.
Heather Riley as Chris set the scene from the opening. She developed this role throughout the play being progressively inebriated with her falling, crawling wobbly movements. Her husband Ken played by Rick Mills seemed to really enjoy this role as it gave him the opportunity to show depth of his powerful voice that projected to all corners of the theatre.
The arrival of the couple Len and Claire portrayed by Tim Cousins and Bec Mason, having just been in an accident in their new BMW gives much material for Len to rant and rave in an obnoxious way and display his tendency to be misogynistic. Claire takes it all in her stride and is more interested in her appearance and position in life. She develops into one of the more calming influences when things start to get out of control.
Chris Galipo as Cookie the TV chef stands out as one who enjoys life, does not worry too much and is still enamoured by her husband Ernest played by Damon Hill. Their scenes together when he is trying to manipulate her back and getting her to stand while leaning over her from behind seemingly getting frisky is a moment that has the audience laughing deeply. Their kissing scene also highlighted the connection between these two.
The final couple to arrive are Glen and Cassie played by Adrian Heness and Kristyn Barnes. Glen and Cassie have a troubled relationship due mainly to her obsession with crystals. Their arguments that continue off stage sees Glen return with a bloody nose, while Cassie returns with a new outlook that she portrays perfectly.
To complete the cast Rose Vallen as Officer Conkin finally makes it into the room via the back door while all the others are trying to concoct a story that is believable. She is confused by all the happenings then stops to hear the off the cuff memorable explanation given by Len.
Using the audience entrance to the theatre as the front door for the play was a little off putting. Each time the fourth wall was broken some of the realism on stage was lost and took attention away from the truly magnificent set.
The costumes were outstanding and became part of the play when they were commented on as to where they had been previously worn.
Once again all the production team at the Tea Tree Players have played their part in manufacturing an excellent production.