|Ludwig Farce Takes A Swing At Golf|
|Wednesday, 06 June 2012 19:27|
The Barn Theatre in Augusta, Mich., opened its 66th season Tuesday evening with a fast-paced production of “The Fox on The Fairway,” a skewed look at man’s favorite sport — golf, of course (what did you think?!).
Golf, along with sex and mixed messages, is the subject of the newest offering from playwright Ken Ludwig whose other farcical targets include opera (“Lend Me A Tenor”), theater (“Moon Over Buffalo”) and cross-dressing (“Leading Ladies”).
There is no actual animal running amok on the greens, instead the title alludes to the setting, the Tap Room of the Quail Valley Country Club, where the club’s annual golf tournament with deadly rivals— the Crouching Squirrel Golf and Racquet Club — is about to get underway.
Before the championship is decided, Ludwig has brought out all the tricks in his comedy bag, excepting mistaken identity. In “Fox,” everyone knows who he or she is supposed to be, excluding one final shot out of the rough.
The five member cast starts in first gear with some defining quotes describing various authors’ opinions on the game and quickly ratchets up to high, without missing a beat or stopping to take a breath.
“Fox” is definitely the most raucous of Ludwig’s plays and the “combatants” spend a major portion of their time racing around the set, in and out of many doors (another Ludwig trademark) and facing each other eyeball to eyeball while shouting at the top of their lungs.
The “plot” is appropriately convoluted and, as in all Ludwig creations, the audience is required only to sit and laugh at the outrageous goings on, a requirement The Barn audience was eager to fulfill.
Barn veterans Roy Brown, Eric Parker, Emily Fleming and Patrick Hunter are old hands at playing rapid-fire farce and are ably assisted by Bethany Edlund and Amy Harpenau under the direction of Brendan Ragotzy.
Parker and Brown play opposing club presidents Dickie Bell and Henry Bingham, respectively, with Fleming as Pamela Peabody, Bell’s obviously bitter ex. Hunter is Justin Hicks, a Quail Valley employee who becomes its secret weapon when its top player defects to Crouching Squirrel. Edlund is Louise, a QV waitress engaged to Hicks, and Harpenau is Murial Bingham, Henry’s overbearing antique-loving wife.
Parker blusters beautifully with his constant bragging as blatant as his mix-and-mismatched outfits. Brown goes swiftly from newfound confidence to recurring hysteria as his ace-in-the-hole seems about to blow the game on which he has wagered too much cash and his wife’s antique shop. Fleming shifts from sarcastic onlooker to invested participant as her emotions fix on the beleaguered Brown.
Edlund, whose hysteria frequently muddles her dialogue, and Hunter, who shares her hysteria but for different reasons, are well matched as the couple who finally come in under par.
The set design by Steven Lee Burright combines the rolling greens with the Tap Room for an interesting indoor/outdoor effect. Michael Wilson Morgan’s costumes could undoubtedly go right to the first tee.
“THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY” continues through June 17 in the theater on M-96 west of Augusta, Mich. For show times and reservations, call (269) 731-4121 or visit www.barntheatre.com
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 02:08|