by Neil Simon
-is CFC Arts Black Box Theater
directed by Jake Teixeira
presenting at Central Christian Church
If you’re going over the top, well, go WAY over the top. Neil Simon’s is a classic door slamming farce of mistaken identity, misapplied cover ups, and a total commitment to silly action if there’s any way possible to avoid doing something rational. We are at the home of Charlie Brock, Deputy mayor of NYC. It’s his tenth anniversary, his wife is missing, and his attempted suicide resulted in a blown away earlobe but not much other damage. We never see Brock, he’s just a McGuffin locked up in his second-floor bedroom. Attending him is his best friend Ken Gorman (Donald Rupe). Ken works hard to suppress the attempted suicide, but he has blood on his shirt and struggles valiantly to hide the truth from his wife Chris (Cara Clough) and the other guests as they arrive. But soon everyone is embroiled in the cover up, even those too dumb to question the blood and lack of hosts. Then the cops show up and the level of playacting reaches a peak.
It’s a loud show, with little time for the large cast or audience to catch a breath. Everyone on has marital problems, and everyone has something to protect or lose. Never are they subtle; we go for max volume and max stupidity at all turns. While Rupe spends the whole show with has arms out, other actors manage a bit more subtlety: Brandon Lopez wrecks a car (off stage) as the Latin Lawyer, Sarah Potter plays the TV chef with a dress so garish it needs its own YouTube Channel, and Landon St. Gordon nails the smarmy politician who can’t afford a scandal or to treat his wife (Jenny Artz) decently. All this fits onto an elegant and impressive set tucked into the church hall CFCA uses as their space; they even sold raffle tickets for the painting to defray costs. Loud, noisy and very funny, this show is exhausting but fun.