"The Fox On The Fairway" Drives Laughs
Oct 14, 2015 03:01AM ● Published by Ron Wilkie
A farce is about to be played upon the fair citizens of Beaver Dam and surrounding communities. Opening Friday October 16 is Ken Ludwig’s tribute to great English farces “The Fox On The Fairway.” Not into farcical theater? The last great English farce staged at the little BDACT Theater was “Noises Off” in the fall of 2011. That farce played to capacity crowds roaring with approving laughter night after gut busting night. This farce will create many laughs as well.
If Ken Ludwig sounds familiar to long time BDACT patrons, he should. He also wrote “Lend Me A Tenor” which was BDACTs 90th mainstage show in the fall of 1993, and “Moon Over Buffalo” which appeared on the BDACT stage in the fall of 2008 as our 132nd main-stage show.
Tina Swain directs this stellar cast. Her vision for telling a story is impeccable and as always her set designers and builders have created a beautiful stage.
This story is set in the Tap Room of the Quail Valley Country Club where Henry Bingham, President of the club prepares for their annual golf tournament with rival Crouching Squirrel Country Club run by the sleazy Dickie Bell. Dickey convinces Henry to make a large wager on the tournament before revealing that he has lured Quail Valley’s best golfer over to the Crouching Squirrel team at the last minute.
Before I lose some of you who are uninterested in a sports or gambling story, “The Fox On The Fairway” is primarily a love story. A love story about a young couple, Justin Hicks and Louise Heindbedder who open the show with Justin on one knee asking for Louise’s hand in marriage. Like any young couple in any classic English farce, our love birds are about to ride a wild and hilarious roller coaster of emotions and misunderstandings.
Henry has a small but loyal staff consisting of his newly hired assistant Justin, long time waitress Louise, and Pamela Peabody who…well…I’m not sure what Pamela does other than drink, smoke and provide comfort and support to the ever stressed out Bingham. Henry has a right to be stressed out. His team has lost this tournament to Dicky’s team five years running and the Board of Directors have decided that one more loss will result in the dismissal of one Henry Bingham as President of the Quail Valley Golf Club.
Our protagonist Henry must find a replacement and quick for the ringer that Dickey has stolen from his team. Enter our young lover Justin, who just happens to be a scratch golfer, except when he is stressed out. Did I mention that Justin and Louise have a tumultuous relationship? Justin goes from hero to louse in the eyes of Louise and back again, and his character is reminiscent of Kevin Costner’s character in “Tin Cup” a world beater when there is no pressure, but self-destructive when provoked to anger or despair.
In addition to Pamela and Louise, there’s a third woman in Ludwig’s play, Bingham’s wife, Muriel, whom Bingham openly despises. With her commando like personality, Muriel is the epitome of anger and aggression, except when she is around Dickie who wears the most hideous sweaters known to mankind. Oddly enough, Muriel likes Dickie’s sweaters as much as she seems to like Dickie.
The cast includes; Trevor Kastein as Justin Hicks, Christina Miller as Louise, Craig LeBeau as Henry Bingham, Barbara Vockroth as Pamela Peabody, Dan Landsness as Dickie Bell, and Angel Yako as Muriel Bingham. This is an ensemble cast and every actor receives an opportunity to deliver a memorable moment or two that will leave audiences laughing.
Trevor Kastein shines as the heavily medicated and broken armed Justin who escapes from a hospital emergency room to excitedly return to the Tap Room in a quest to win Louise’s love. Particularly funny is Trevor’s reenactment of Tom Cruise during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Craig LeBeau and Barb Vockroth’s characters Henry and Pamela have a great moment after being overserved with Dom Pérignon as they profess their love for each other while the club intercom microphone is live for an entire outdoor party to hear. A party that includes Henry’s wife Muriel. Let’s just say the evening does not end well for Bingham.
Dan Landsness who is fast becoming a BDACT favorite, plays the arrogant and obnoxious weasel Dickie Bell. To be honest, I can’t think of a moment on stage when Dan has been anything other than brilliantly funny and his portrayal of Dickie will not disappoint.
Christina Miller is best known for her voice, but she is a good comedic actress as well. The character of Louise has very high highs and psychosomatic lows, Louise’s words, not mine. Audiences will love the way Christina's character deals with the loss of her engagement ring, a ring that Justin’s grandmother handed down to him and has been in the family for 40 years. This is a funny crying scene that only Lucile Ball could’ve performed better.
Angel Yako portrays Henry’s embattled wife Muriel and has two memorable scenes. She has the fewest scenes in the play and like any good character actor she knows that there are no small parts if you own the part. Muriel walks in on Henry falsely stating that she is dead after giving away her $10,000 vase in an attempt to keep Justin in his golf team. Angel delivers a blow with a waded up newspaper to Henry’s shoulder for every word she utters of dialogue. The cadence of the blows in rhythm with the words provides amusing laughs. However, for my money the moment that will cause belly laughs is a scene between Dickie and Muriel where she is attempting to convince Dickie to cancel the bet with Henry. There is a stare down leading to rapture that made the dress rehearsal audience roar with approval.
“The Fox On The Fairway” moves fast, has many plot twists and physical comedy. It just the type of play that BDACT audiences have loved over the years. This cast and crew will not let the patrons down. Positive buzz is sure to follow Friday night’s opening performance. Be there will you?
Show dates Oct 16, 17, 22, 23, &
24 at 7:30pm., Oct 18, & 25, at 2:00pm.
Get your tickets on-line www.bdact.org or at Rechek's Food Pride 920-887-7675 starting at $10.
Serving Wine & Beer, & Chocolates at intermission.
October 16th Palenque
October 17th Cocktails
October 23rd Park Ave Sports Café
October 24th John’s Bar
PRODUCER: Sheri Born
STAGE MANAGER: Heidi Freeby
STAGE CREW: Michael Clawson
PUBLICITY: Roxie Miller
SET DESIGNER: Tina Swain, Mary Colstad Miller
SET DECORATER: Mary Colstad-Miller; Kay Neuman; Beth Jewel;
SET BUILDERS: David Hicks, Michael Clawson
PROPS: Heidi Freeby & Michael Clawson
COSTUMES: Sandi Muenchow & Laural Connelly
MAKE-UP & HAIR: JoDee Rechek; Maria Fritts; Marcia Rechek; Khris Allar
LIGHTS: Ron Wilkie
SOUND: Benjamin Dittmann
HOUSE MANAGERS: Roxie Miller & Kathi Gallus
Signs: Kim Doyle
Programs: Ellen Sushak & Laura Congdon
Tickets: Diane Rabehl & Lisa Behm
Photographer: Barb Thomson
Afterglows: Jackie Cupery