Rumour Has It

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The Royal Palm Players perform Rumors

I last reviewed a performance of Neil Simon’s famous play Rumours in 2012. Over the Valentine’s Day weekend, the Royal Palm Players in Boca Grande gave a smashing rendition that was even better than the one in Ft. Lauderdale.

For those who don’t know Boca Grande, it is a historic town on Gasparilla Island on Florida’s west coast. Nobody just stumbles on it- you have to make a deliberate effort to go there, and be prepared for the $6 toll before driving onto the island. It is well worth the effort, as the town is a delight with specialty shops, a lighthouse built in 1890 that contains a fascinating museum, and more than one building on the Register of National Historic places.

The Royal Palm Players (RPP) themselves are now an institution on the island, as they are celebrating their 25th year. All the cast members have appeared on stage here before, and some are current or past members of the board. They clearly have a great rapport, which is critical to the success of this play that relies entirely on the ability of an ensemble cast to portray the most farcical situations as believable.

Jim Sullivan as Lenny offers a standout performance. He gets the unenviable task of delivering a totally ludicrous rapid-fire monologue near the end of the play. Neil Simon put a lot of pressure on whatever actor took on this role as one slip-up would have deflated the entire build-up to the conclusion. Sullivan’s captivating delivery ensured the play held together till the very end.

His character also gets the best one-liners. Addressing Dan Headington (who is also President of RPP) in the role of Glenn, he says “You’re running for the Senate? I wouldn’t let you run for Chinese food!”

Rumours treads two fine lines. First, a fine line between delivering the dialog or shouting it. Secondly, the fine line between acting and overacting- it is easy to ham it up with this script. The Royal Palm Players tread these fine lines carefully, delivering a terrific performance.

After deluding the police officers investigating some gunshots (the scene shown in the photo above), Lenny says “I had the best God-damn time of my life!” Many in the overflow audience might have agreed with him.

Cast members included Margaret Bush, Terry Seitz, Linda Rollyson, Karen Snyder, David Jenkins, Sally Johnson, Sharon Sullivan and Lew Hastings.

Next up on stage will be the great musical Oklahoma from March 12 to 15, 2015. Visit their website:

For more about Boca Grande's lighthouse and the state parks that serve to support the natural assets of the area, visit this website:


Clifford Cunningham

Dr. Clifford Cunningham is a planetary scientist. He earned his PhD in the history of astronomy at the University of Southern Queensland, and has undergraduate degrees in science and ancient history from the University of Waterloo. In 2014 he was named a contributor to Encyclopedia Britannica. He is the author of 14 books on asteroids and the history of science. In 1999 he appeared on the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Asteroid 4276 was named in his honor in 1990 by the International Astronomical Union based on the recommendation of its bureau located at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

More in this category: « Rumors in Boca Grande
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