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The Fox on the Fairway

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Ken Ludwig

COMPANY : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 4299

SHOWING : May 03, 2012 - May 27, 2012

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Ken Ludwig ("Lend Me A Tenor," "Moon Over Buffalo") hits a hole-in-one with his tribute to the great English farces of the 1930s and 1940s. Love and money are in the rough at the Quail Valley Country Club. Two rival Country Club owners waggle around mistaken identities and play through over-the-top romantic shenanigans in order to stay on the fairway and ace a happy ending. This uproarious golf comedy promises to hit the sweet spot.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Kevin Gilesse
Dickie Robin Bloodworth
Muriel Suehyla El-Attar
Louise Jennifer Holden
Pamela Courtney Patterson
Bingham Daniel Triandiflou
Justin Jacob York
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REVIEWS

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Definitely Better Than Par
by Dedalus
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
4.5
A big event is imminent, and a “ringer” pro has been brought in. The pro backs out and has to be replaced by a talented young minion. Complications ensue, desperation mounts, and all can be saved by a single “Hail Mary.” To celebrate their hard-won victory, the cast does a 15-second recap of the entire story as an encore.

The fact that the above paragraph can be used to describe Ken Ludwig’s “Lend me a Tenor” AND “The Fox on the Fairway, may be a sign he’s fallen into a formulaic rut. Or it could indicate he’s stumbled onto a formula that can hold an infinite number of stories. I’m inclined to believe the former, but, based on the results currently on stage at Aurora Theatre, I hold out hopes for the latter. This is a fast-paced, side-splittingly funny piece, tightly directed and exquisitely performed. Those feelings of déjà vu experienced by those of us (too) familiar with “Lend me a Tenor” (more on that piece in a couple weeks after Stage Door’s revival) are quickly drowned out by laughter at the antics at these too-obsessed, just over-the-top eccentric characters and the wonderful actors hiding behind them.

It’s time for the annual Golf Tournament between rivals Quail Valley Country Club and Crouching Squirrel Country Club. As usual, Club Presidents Bingham (Quail Valley) and Dickie (Crouching Squirrel Hidden Nutjob) have made an outrageous bet on the outcome. If Crouching Squirrel wins, Bingham must turn over the keys to his wife’s Antique Shop along with $200,000. What Dickie doesn’t know is that Bingham has recruited a ridiculously talented pro to play for his side. What Bingham doesn’t know is that his wife’s store is soon to worth millions from a land deal, and, oh, yes, Crouching Squirrel has stolen his “ringer.”

Enter Justin and Louise, the young employees in lust/love. Justin has just been hired as Bingham’s assistant, and Louise is the waitress at the Quail Valley Tap Room. Toss into the mix Pamela, from Bingham’s Board of Directors, who happens to be Dickie’s ex-wife and also [Truly Absurd Plot Twist Deleted by the Spoiler Police]. Oh, did I mention that Justin has a golf game that scores in the mid-sixties?

Mr. Ludwig has pulled out all the stops here, tossing in clever-entendres pure slapstick, a fragile antique vase, a purple-pimpernel birthmark (Hooray! Someone else knows “The Court Jester”!), a battle-axe wife, a crouching-dimwit hidden-genius blonde bombshell, a lot of free-flowing wine and champagne, a number of ridiculously mismatched golfing “togs” (with one of Dickie’s sweaters matching the modern art painting on the set), drug-induced hallucinations, an engagement ring down the sink, and that hoariest of clichés, the microphone with a mind of its own leading to an embarrassingly broadcast confession. All familiar stuff, all used here to tremendously effective, um, effect. And to top them all, there’s the amazingly funny sight of a drunken Courtney Patterson (as Pamela), lying flat on her back with a golf ball in her mouth for Bingham’s swing aimed right at us.

Director Kevin Gillese (from Dad’s Garage) has assembled a tremendously talented cast led by Dan Triandiflou’s calmly desperate Bingham, Mr. Triandiflou creates a character who is an anchor of calm in the midst of all this craziness, but he is the one with the most at stake. Courtney Patterson flexes her comedic chops with her serial-divorcee Pamela (“I had a nightmare all my ex-husbands were in the tournament and I was the seventh hole”) with a few secrets of her own (not to mention a way with an ad-lib that covered a few technical faux’s pas). As rival president Dickie, Robin Bloodworth is delightfully dim, mangling idioms as easily as he mangles his wardrobe. Jacob York and Jenny Holden are simply marvelous as the young lovers Justin and Louise, and generate plenty of on-stage heat. And, to round out the cast, Suehyla El-Attar is marvelous as Muriel, Bingham’s Margaret-Dumontesque wife and tormentor.

Lizz Dorsey has put together a beautiful set (the Quail Valley Tap Room) that breaks apart at just the right moment, backed by a superbly designed and executed backdrop that looks positively three-dimensional. Lights (Mary Parker) and Sound (Bobby Johnson) add just the right amount of support, and the Costumes of Alan Yeong are equal parts silly and elegant. Everything in this production was a “hole in one” and kept the entire thing humming along like a finely-tuned golf cart.

So, yeah, this play doesn’t break any new ground, doesn’t reveal anything about human nature we haven’t seen before, and taps into a structure Mr. Ludwig has used before. It’s variations on a successful theme, yet I certainly don’t begrudge his return to it, if the results are this funny and this effective. After all, we don’t criticize Tiger Woods when he repeats moves he’s made before.

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)



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The Farce on the Fairway
by playgoer
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
4.5
Ken Ludwig has done it again. "The Fox on the Fairway" brings together a collection of slightly off-kilter individuals and throws them into a wacky plot filled with physical and situational humor. The fun builds throughout the show, ending in a killer curtain call sequence that encapsulates all that has gone before. It's a hoot.

Dan Triandiflou plays Bingham, the most "normal" of the characters. His volume is often too low, but otherwise he brings the right amount of starch to his character, the manager of a golf club. Robin Bloodworth plays Dickie, his nemesis from another country club, with brash and colorful verve. Courtney Patterson brings dry wit and rubber-boned elegance to Pamela, on the board of Bingham's club. Suehyla El-Attar is battle-axe-cellent as Bingham's wife. As for Jacob York and Jenny Holden, as young lovers/club employees Justin and Louise, well, they ratchet up the physical humor to the level of side-splitting laughs.

Director Kevin Gilesse keeps the pace driving forward, aided by superb work from set designer Lizz Dorsey and costume designer Alan Yeong. This is a delightful show just to look at, with Sarah Thomson's scenic background nicely lit by Mary Parker. There's even a wonderful bit of stage trickery with a golf ball at the end that will keep audiences wondering "how did they do that?"

Aurora Theatre should have a solid hit on its hands with "The Fox on the Fairway." The cast and production team seem to be at the top of their games, hitting a hole-in-one with this silly, funny, pleasing farce. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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