BWW Review: THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY at Ridgedale Players Theatre Scores a Hole in One
Fore-tunately for audiences, Ken Ludwig's The Fox on the Fairway is being performed at Ridgedale Players in Troy and is not to be missed. While most comedy-loving theatre-goers are familiar with Ludwig's often-performed madcap romps including Lend Me a Tenor, Leading Ladies and Moon Over Buffalo, Fox on the Fairway is a refreshing change and crazy-delightful two-hour escape from life's many downers these days.
And while avid golfers will certainly enjoy the lengths that people will go to for boasting rights and the coveted trophy during a competitive tournament rivalry between clubs-in Fox on the Fairway's case, Quail Valley Country Club vs. Crouching Squirrel Country Club-you don't really need to be a golfer to enjoy the plot.
In fact, the newly engaged, young club waitress, Louise (Kimberly Suchyta) sums it up quite nicely to the audience: "Golf is easy. The first thing you do is buy clothes that don't match." Quail Valley Club member Pamela (Annette Swidwinski), and ex-wife to Crouching Squirrel devious tournament head, Dickie Bell (Mike Gingerella), tells us: "Golf and sex are the only things you can enjoy without being good at them."
Perhaps now would be a perfect moment to point out that Fox on the Fairway is not appropriate for the younger crowd, as one mother realized, all too late, at intermission. With that said, what's a great adult farce without some drunken stress, naughty language, wife-swapping, affairs and pre-wedding quarrels?
Co-Directors Pamela Shaw Heath and Tracy J. Altman did a masterful job of casting the perfect ensemble for this fast-paced, incredibly well-blocked and timed comedy. Andrew Catterall who plays the happy-go-lucky Justin, brought in to save the day by Quail Valley Club Manager, Henry Bingham (Tom Arwady), has a challenging physical role that he handles with ease and finesse. Even his hair gets several laughs. And Dickie Bell's psychedelic golf sweaters get even more laughs (perhaps costumers Anna Wojciechowski, Julie Scott and Julia Spina-Killar would be available for freelance ugly sweater Christmas-making). Bingham's wife, Muriel (Drew McGee) enters late in the show, just in time to add more confusion, is a fun task-master in her camouflage fatigues and army boots.
Set Designers and Decorators Dave Scott and Mark Barrara ensure an authentic club atmosphere and bar hang-out with a clever nod to converting the set to the 18th hole and wrap-up to the tournament. Sound Designer Shawn Polito creates a believable putting atmosphere.
As they say in film, be sure to stay for the credits. The curtain call is like another play in itself. Ken Ludwig first implemented the special curtain call with Lend Me a Tenor. Like in that show, the cast in a comedic, fast-paced frenzy pantomimes the entire play from start to finish in under two minutes. Again, kudos to the cast for sending the audience out laughing.
The Fox on the Fairway continues at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays May 11-12 and May 18-19 and at 2 p.m Sundays May 13 and May 20. Reserved tickets start at $16 and can be purchased online at www.ridgedaleplayers.com or by calling (248) 988-7049. An afterglow with desserts, snacks and coffee will follow each performance. Ridgedale Players Theatre is located at 205 W. Long Lake Road in Troy, Michigan.
Photo Credit: Dave Scott, Oak Hurst Country Club