BWW Reviews: THE FOREIGNER at Hale Centre Theatre West Valley is Uproariously Funny
Hale Centre Theatre's production of THE FOREIGNER in West Valley is uproariously funny with an emotional core.
THE FOREIGNER, a comedic play by Larry Shue, features Charlie Baker, an introverted Englishman who visits a bed and breakfast in rural Georgia. In order to prevent unwanted social interaction, he pretends to be a foreigner who doesn't speak English. He does not know that doing so will initiate some of the most meaningful connections of his life.
The play is filled with spoken, situational, and physical comedy that ranges from mildly humorous to riotously funny while remaining grounded and relatable. By the end of the show, the audience feels as much of a rapport with and emotional connection to the characters as Charlie does.
Greg Larsen as Charlie Baker (double cast with Bryan Dayley) is neurotic and lovable. He is reminiscent of Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe in looks, voice, and mannerisms. The character (and the actor who plays him) adds a dash of joy to each scene he is in.
Another performer who deserves a special mention is Amy Addams Stocking as Catherine Simms (double cast with Ashley Gardner Carlson). Her acting choices and commitment are exceptional.
The rest of the cast, which does not contain a weak link, includes Daniel Fenton Anderson as Owen Musser (double cast with Oran Marc de Baritault), Rusty Bringhurst as "Froggy" Lesueur (double cast with David Marsden), Justin Bruse as Rev. David Marshall Lee (double cast with Mitch Hall), Vicki Pugmire as Betty Meeks (double cast with Tanya Hale Radebaugh), and Chase Ramsey as Ellard Simms (double cast with Brandon Green).
A standout element of the production design is the lighting by Adam Flitton, which subtly but convincingly moves the audience from morning to afternoon to evening. Also of note are the realistic set by Jennifer Stapley Taylor and properties by Michelle Jensen.
Director Eric R. Jensen has combined many outstanding elements to create a satisfying comedy to bring in the new year.
THE FOREIGNER plays through February 1, 2014. For tickets, call the box office at 801-984-9000 or visit www.halecentretheatre.org.
Photo Credit: L-R Chase Ramsey (Ellard Simms) and Vicki Pugmire (Betty Meeks)