If laughs are birdies, 'Fox on Fairway' gets plenty

2013-04-28T00:00:00Z If laughs are birdies, 'Fox on Fairway' gets plentyKathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 28, 2013 12:00 am  • 

There's no way around it: Golf is funny.

The concept - hit a little ball with a skinny stick and try to get it into a tiny hole far, far away - is just plain ludicrous. And do this while not hitting the ball into sand traps, water hazards and your fellow golfers? Please. And then there's the clothing: bold plaids and loud colors are preferable.

So it's no wonder that playwright Ken Ludwig opted to use the sport as the basis for his comedy "Fox on the Fairway," which Invisible Theatre opened Wednesday.

"Fox" doesn't match up to Ludwig's "Lend Me A Tenor," and much of it feels overwrought, but, like golf, it is funny.

Director Susan Claassen knows her comedy and she shaped a play that was easy with the laughs and polished enough to gloss over the script's rough spots.

She had a cast that helped immensely.

The setting: Two rival country clubs are about to have their annual golf tournament. One has been a constant loser, but this year the director, Bingham (William Hubbard) thinks he's got a winner - a primo golfer has joined the club and is playing in the tourney.

The director of the rival club, Dickie (Jack Neubeck), is pretty darn sure he's going to win and makes a hefty wager with Bingham. They shake on it, then Bingham promptly discovers that Dickie has stolen the primo golfer from him.

Frenzied farce follows.

Neubeck, dressed in the most garish sweaters (we can thank costume designer Maryann Trombino for her humorous touches,) and Hubbard are hoots as men with wandering eyes and greedy hearts.

Lori Hunt's turn as a member of Bingham's club and an old love interest of his gave the show an added edge of humor. Hunt is always so well-rooted in her characters that we never have trouble believing her when she's on stage.

Victoria McGee came in like a bulldozer as Muriel, Bingham's wife. She is described by other characters as a "big woman - wears camouflage." Now, McGee is not a big woman, and she wasn't wearing camouflage, but she gave Muriel such good definition you could swear that description was exactly right.

The young lovers in the story provide much of the bumbling, fumbling humor. RD Mower seemed a bit lost in the role, but that wasn't much of a drawback - his character, Justin, is lost much of the time, anyway.

Lucille Petty as his love interest, Louise, shows fine comic timing and a solid grasp on her character. Petty has grown up on Tucson stages, and she just keeps getting better.

You can't see this play without marveling at the last image - a backdrop painted to look like a well-maintained golf course. Tom Benson created the piece and, as usual (he does most of The Gaslight Theatre's sets), his work is quite impressive.

"The Fox on the Fairway" isn't stellar theater, but it is an evening full of laughs. And, frankly, a lot more fun than a golf game. My golf game, at least.

Review

• What: Invisible Theatre's production of "The Fox on the Fairway."

• By: Ken Ludwig.

• Director: Susan Claassen.

• Where: Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave.

• When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 3 p.m. Sundays through May 12.

• Tickets: $28. If available, tickets are half-price 30 minutes before curtain.

• Reservations, information: 882-9721 or invisibletheatre.com

• Running time: 2 hours, with one intermission.

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@azstarnet.com or 573-4128.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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