Arts & Entertainment

Play review: Neil Simon's 'Rumors'

If laughs are the measuring stick of a good comedy, then Rumors gets an A.

Broken Leg Production's dinner theater kicked off Neil Simon's Rumors on May 7 to a packed house that seemed to thoroughly enjoy their efforts.

The company expanded its cast size for this production to 10, which is probably the maximum that Kennewick's Red Lion Hotel stage can handle.

The costumes, thanks to Katrina Carlson and Korry Watkins, were beautiful and appropriate for the anniversary party that makes up the centerpiece of the script.

Once again Broken Leg Productions has assembled some of the finest talent in Tri-Cities.

The good news is we get to see flushed-out characters coming from a place of truth, which makes them even funnier, and allows the audience to relate with, "I've done that!" or "I can relate to that!" It's an element that's usually missing from over-the-top performances.

The bad news is, when surrounded by truthful actors, moments when intentions are not clear on stage stand out. The performance had a few such moments, but nothing so abrupt it deterred from the overall entertainment value.

The play begins with the arrival of Chris and Ken Gorman, portrayed by Carlson and Steve Montgomery, to their friends' anniversary party.

As the doorbell rings they hear gunfire. Their friend has been shot, and the rest of the play revolves around trying to keep what really happened a secret.

They are willing to go to great lengths to accomplish this, even lying to the police, portrayed by E.J. Brewer and Sherry Teachout, which leads to one of the funniest monologues written and delivered by Watkins.

Brad Steiner is suitably dry and droll as the psychiatrist. Alisha Reed is amazingly sexy as the cheated wife of a politician. Michele Solano and Watkins establish the most fun relationship as the New Jersey couple who constantly bicker.

All the characters were distinct and individually crafted. Up the stakes to a frenzy and the audience will go wild, as we did on opening night.