By Norm Foster
Performed by Sheldon Davis, Joe Matheson, Michael Peng, Richard Quesnel
Directed by Max Reimer
Huron Country Playhouse, Grand Bend
July 19 – August 20, 2006
Reviewed by Mary Alderson
Above Par Comedy
The Foursome, currently running at Playhouse II, the smaller venue at Grand Bend’s Huron Country Playhouse, is more fun than a hole-in-one. The laughs follow one gag after another in this tightly and cleverly written comedy. Perfect summer stock fare in an area where golf courses abound.
It’s the story of four guys who were best buddies in university. They’ve returned 15 years later for their class reunion, and after the festivities of the night before, they decide to shoot 18 holes of golf before they go back to their separate lives. While the various tees provide the setting for this play, one does not need to be a golfer to appreciate the jokes. The comedy is more about life, than golf.
But playing golf provides the opportunity for this foursome to talk over old times, and catch up on the latest news. And talk they do – sexual escapades, women, family and careers are discussed. Each story provides a laugh – even the more serious stories turn out funny. Some of the jokes are slightly naughty – but not enough to be offensive. Canadian playwright Norm Forster has captured well the one-upmanship and practical joking of a bunch of 40 year olds trying to recreate the good old days.
Sheldon Davis as Donnie provides much of the humour and a little sober second thought, too. He’s the only non-golfer of the foursome, and with his wild swing, he might hurt himself (or the cast member standing next to him) before the show’s run is over. Davis seems very comfortable in the role and is refreshingly natural in his interpretation of the part.
Richard Quesnel does an excellent job of playing Rick. You know the type at reunions. He shows up 15 years later just to tell how great he’s doing – he’s living the good life in Florida as a swinging bachelor, selling boats, golfing every day – annoying as heck.
Michael Peng is Ted, who offers some of the play’s deadpan humour. Peng’s portrayal of Ted’s competitiveness when he meets up with old friends is very realistic. In addition, while there is nothing funny about alcoholism, Peng handles that aspect of his character very well.
Joe Matheson plays Cameron – the worrier of the group. He’s busy applying sunscreen, but afraid it might rain at the same time. Matheson demonstrates what a fussbudget Cameron is, without making the character pathetic.
The four different personalities clash and collide creating laughter as we meet them at each tee-off. Director Max Reimer has found just the right chemistry to make their talk believable, without turning them into caricatures, which could easily have happened.
The play was premiered in 1998, but this performance was updated to 2006 with a mention of them graduating 15 years ago in 1991. However, the production failed to be consistent, when the golf references were not updated. You can be sure that if four Canadian guys met at the golf course today, there would be some discussion of Mike Weir and Stephen Ames or even Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Their talk of Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman was out-dated.
The Foursome continues with eight shows a week until August 20 at Playhouse II, Huron Country Playhouse, Grand Bend. Tickets are available at the Huron Country Playhouse box office at (519) 238-6000 or Drayton Entertainment at 1-888-449-4463.