Rumors, Touchstone Theatre. It’s Charlie and Myra Block’s tenth wedding anniversary, but the hostess and the servants are nowhere to be seen, and the host is in his bedroom semiconscious, with a self-inflicted but superficial bullet wound to the head. His distress is nothing, however compared to that suffered by his guests as they leap from one erroneous conclusion to another, concocting such a web of alibis, coverups, and self-serving excuses that finally only the absurd truth can set them free.

Neil Simon is still America’s premiere farceur, and Rumors represents the Doc at the top of his form, with plenty of lightning repartee, satirically extreme but humanely drawn characters, and a solution so logical as to be utterly unforeseeable. This madcap comedy could quickly degenerate into a chaotic mugfest, but Touchstone director Karen Kessler and her cast of experienced, enthusiastic players not only maintain their damn-the-torpedoes pace with the stamina of racehorses and the agility of Chinese acrobats, they keep the convoluted narrative clean and coherent. Even the unseen personages who exist only in conversation, behind doors (six, to be exact) and on the other end of the telephone (extralong cord, naturally), are clear to us. The only hindrance to this superbly integrated ensemble is the view-obstructing pillar in the middle of Kevin Snow’s otherwise impeccable set. Nothing can block the laughs, however.