Monthly Archive for: ‘September, 2014’

The Fox on the Fairway earns kudos at Ross Valley Players.

Lydia Singleton (Louise, front), Derek Jepson (Justin)., Louis Schilling (Bingham) and Eileen Fisher (Pamela) star in Ross Valley Players’ production of ‘The Fox on the Fairway.’ Photo by Robin Jackson

THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY: Farce by Ken Ludwig and directed by Juliana Rees. Ross Valley Players Barn Theatre at the Marin Art & Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in Ross. 415-456-9555 or www.rossvalleyplayers.com.  September 12-October 12, 2014

The Fox on the Fairway earns kudos at Ross Valley Players. Rating: ★★★★☆

Ross Valley Players (RVP) has been treading the boards for 84 years and in this their 85th season has returned to what they do best, comedy/farce. It is an appropriate move since some of their more ambitious productions are beyond the ability of this community/non-equity theatre. They have again turned to a Ken Ludwig farce to regain applause and elicit laughter from the audience.

Two years ago they earned five stars for their production of Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor that has an almost a perfect ingenious farcical plot. This time around Ludwig’s plot is a strained and a bit “by-the-numbers.” The broadly drawn characters, ridiculous story-line, risqué double meanings, love gone awry and fast/ furious physical activity that uses the obligatory four doors needed for farce are all there. Not only do they have the aforementioned four doors, they have  huge French doors upstage center overlooking the golf course (Set by Ken Roland).

The time is the present and the place a tap room of the Quail Valley Country Club. The annual tournament between Quail Valley and Crouching Squirrel Golf Clubs is about to begin. Quail Valley has never won. This year Bingham (Louis Schilling), the Quail Valley president has brought in an expert golfer to assure they will win. He did not count on the deviousness of Dickie (Javier Alarcon); Bingham’s counterpart of Crouching Squirrel who has squirreled away Bingham’s  expert golfer. Bingham has made a huge bet with Dickie before he knew about the loss of his expert golfer. As luck would have it Bingham has hired a gofer, young Justin (Derek Jepsen) who shoots golf in the low 60s (for you non-golfers a low score is good). Quail Valley is on the way to a win but not before we meet all the characters who have made brief declamatory statements to the audience befitting the personalities of their characters before the plot begins.

Along with the three mentioned characters there is young scatter-brained Louise (Lydia Singleton) who works at Quail lodge and is in love with Justin. Unhappy sex-starved Pamela (Eileen Fisher) is married to Dickie but is oddly a member of the Quail Lodge Club but she has her reasons that become clear in the second act. Finally, there is Muriel, Bingham’s masculine wife who wears camouflage clothing and hasn’t been ‘drilled’ for years.

The scene is set and the golf tournament begins. We hear the partial results over a loud speaker. In the meantime Louise has lost her heirloom engagement ring in the toilet. She must not tell Justin who goes goes berserk under stress. As the golf games goes on, Quail lodge is ahead by 8 shots but alas there is a rain delay with Quail Lodge ahead by 8 shots with the18th hole to be played the next day.

All is set for the hysterical act two. Without giving away the surprises it is safe to say, Justin goes berserk, alcohol  (champagne) flows, Pamela and Bingham express their true feelings, (the truth of ‘in veno veritas’) with an recalcitrant open microphone announcing it to the entire club. Muriel enters in a butch outfit and adds further complications when she learns that her treasured sweater shop is part of the bet between Bingham and Dickie.   It is a wild time with all the doors being used with entrances and exits galore. The denouement is a humdinger.

The seasoned director, Juliana Rees an Equity actor, keeps the mayhem in check allowing the actors to emote. Yes, the term emote is correct, since the acting is rightfully very, very broad in the doctrine of farcical acting. Two of the actors are new to RVP including young handsome Derek Jepsen who worked under the legendary James Dunn and Louis Schilling who has played in venues throughout the Bay Area. Jepsen’s performance foreshadows a promising career in the theatre. Javier Alarcon who almost stole the show from James Dunn and Wood Lockhart in Tuna Texas is great as devious Dickie. The elegant Elleen Fisher exudes the sex written into her role and is matched in quality by Lydia Singleton as the ingénue. Sumi Narendran makes the most of her unenviable role as Muriel.

This review is being written on the last preview performance and tightening is needed that is surely to be corrected as the run progresses. Running time 2 hours with an intermission. Recommendation: A should see production.

CAST: Javier Alarcon  as Dickie; Eileen Fisher as Pamela; Derek Jepsen as Justin; Sumi Narendran as Muriel; Louis Schilling as Bingham;  Lydia Singleton as Louise.      

ARTISTIC STAFF: Director, Julianna Rees; Production Manager, Mark Toepfer; Stage Manager, Will Lamers;  Asst Stage Manager, Lisa Immel; Set Design, Ken Rowland; Costume Design, Michael A. Berg; Lighting Design; Property Design, Maureen Scheuenstuhl

Kedar K. Adour, MD

Courtesy of www.theatreworldinternetmagazine.com.

 


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