Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
A Fox on the Fairway
Also see Susan's review of Ameriville
For farce to work, the underlying situation must be serious and the characters must have a great deal at stake, and so it is here. As in Lend Me a Tenor, this play centers on a high-strung manHenry Bingham (Jeff McCarthy), president of the Quail Valley golf club, who will lose his job if his golfers don't win the inter-club match against their rivals at Crouching Squirreland his younger, rather nerdy assistant, Justin Hicks (Aubrey Deeker), who reveals some unexpected talents as the plot unravels. Then there's the personal rivalry between Bingham and Dickie Bell (Andrew Long), his counterpart at the other club, and the women in their lives: Bingham's wife Muriel (Valerie Leonard); Justin's fiancée Louise (Meg Steedle), also a club employee; and Bell's hot-to-trot ex-wife Pamela (Holly Twyford).
Director John Rando is a master at pacing; he knows exactly how to keep the action airborne and never gives the audience time to think too closely about some of the more unlikely turns of the plot. He's also working with a team of comic all-stars who understand how to wring every laugh out of their words and actionseven when some of Ludwig's jokes and comic set-ups are, to be charitable, familiar.
McCarthy blusters adorably as a dyspeptic man who starts out smug and soon has to deal with his life crashing down around him. Twyford is a hoot as she makes the most of her assets in Kathleen Geldard's snug-fitting, cleavage-baring outfits, whether posing lasciviously or oozing to the floor, while Long (known in the Washington area for his Shakespearean roles) gleefully chews the scenery as a good old boy defined by his country drawl, his hideous sweaters, and his habit of mangling proverbs.
Leonard, dressed in animal prints, prowls the stage as a frustrated woman just looking for an excuse to fight, while Deeker and Steedle are well matched as an ingénue and juvenile who don't know what they've gotten themselves into.
James Kronzer has contributed another brilliant scenic design, a detailed interior with many doors and a few surprises.