Centreville High School's production of Neil Simon's "Rumors" bounces off the wall like a kid on a sugar high.

Four quaint couples arrive at different times at a party that isn't really happening. Meanwhile, the host is upstairs with a gun wound in his earlobe, the servants have disappeared and all the guests get caught up in a web of lies that involve foreign cars, shaving cream and Adolf Hitler.

"Rumors" is a gem of a comedy, and Centreville's cast, which has a final performance Saturday, pulls it off to a T.

The show moves at the speed of a bullet, which is both good and bad. The pace definitely helps the action onstage and adds some laughs, but there are some drawbacks. At times, the lines fly so fast that it's difficult to tell what's going on, and some puns get lost in the audience's laughter over previous lines.

The technical aspects are top-notch. The sets are astoundingly realistic, an important element with so many character entrances and exits. And the backstage crew keeps busy with the sounds of telephones, intercoms and flushing toilets reverberating through the theater.

Eric St. Peter, playing Lenny with an eccentric style and wild movements, delivers some of the funniest lines in the show. Lauren Robinson, as TV cooking show host Cookie Cusak, tosses in a dash of lightness as well. Chris Nolan and Dana Moreno play two cops who prove that a little sanity can be funny. And Ryann Morrow and Theo Thompson, as the constantly feuding Cassie and Glen Cooper, make the guests' evening a little uncomfortable, but the audience's a real treat.

With this much talent, a twist ending and the "Austin Powers" theme, word will definitely get around about "Rumors."

Matt Leuthy

Stonewall Jackson High School

Both Centreville and Lee high schools have performances this weekend. See the Curtain Calls list for details.