EYEBROWS were raised when acclaimed American playwright Neil Simon penned a farcical comedy called Rumors in 1988.
Simon was renowned for his down-to-earth and warm use of comedy to look at people’s relationships.
Nonetheless, Rumors proved to be a laugh-raiser with United States audiences, who generally aren’t fans of farce, and Simon in 1990 paid tribute to renowned British writers of farce by developing a version set in London.
That rewrite, given the English spelling Rumours, has been a hit worldwide, with actors and audience members alike finding it to be fun.
Newcastle actor Steve McLauchlan so enjoyed playing several years ago one of the Rumours’ central characters, a well-to-do lawyer who tries to hide what appears to have been a suicide attempt by a prominent politician, that he put his hand up for the same role in a production by Newcastle G and S Players Comedy Club that opens on June 2. And he won it.
His character, Ken Gorman, and wife Chris (played by Sandra Monk), also a lawyer, are the first arrivals at a dinner party being held at the home of Britain’s Deputy Minister of Finance to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his marriage.
They find the man lying upstairs, with a gun in his hand and a bullet wound in an ear lobe. His wife and servants aren’t in the house, and the meal hasn’t been prepared.
The couple, who have their own problems, try to keep what has happened from subsequent arrivals.
But the cover-up become increasingly desperate. And each pair also has troubles, with one husband and wife having had their luxury new car sideswiped on the journey.
Ultimately, two policemen turn up, for an unexpected reason.
The cast also includes Geoff McLauchlan, Jan Hunt, Peter Eyre, Kim MacKay, Erol Engin, and Natalie Burg, with Bob Spargo and director John McFadden as the cops.
Steve McLauchlan says there is a lot of cleverness in the play, “but actors have to work hard on it, not only in delivering the lines but presenting the characters in such a way that audience members can relate to them”.
His character, for example, is almost deafened by a gun unexpectedly firing a bullet.
Rumours is being staged in St Matthew’s Anglican Church Hall, in Wentworth Street, Georgetown, as a dinner show, with performances on Fridays, June 2 and 16, Saturdays June 3, 10 and 17, and Sunday, June 11.
The meal begins at 7pm. Dinner and show tickets are $40.
There will also be a show only matinee on Sunday, June 11, at 2pm; tickets $20.
Bookings: 0432 886 149.