“The Fox on the Fairway” – Actors Theatre

This review aired on KBAQ January 28, 2013


Actors Theatre, Stage West, Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

If zany, madcap farce is your thing, Actors Theatre has the show for you in their laugh-filled staging of Ken Ludwig’s malarkey in his “The Fox on the Fairway.”  It’s got the necessary chaotic and wildly absurd shenanigans required of a superb farce.  This one takes place at the Quail Valley Country Club and involves an annual golf tournament with rival Crouching Squirrel Country Club.  A prize-winning golfer is a member of one club but is wooed away by the other club so they can win the competition.  The peculiar and ridiculous rivalry is that intense.

The crazy antics of the various participants are bizarre, wacky, and silly, but bring lots of guffaws and merriment.  The comedy has been staged with superb comic acumen by Matthew Wiener who has become a master at directing these ridiculously stupid but madly fun comedies.  And Wiener has put together a superb acting ensemble of brilliant comic farceurs who perform at the rapid fire, screwball pace necessary to keep the silliness breezy and enjoyable.  Each cast member brings their own bits of clowning chicanery and effervescent malarkey as they find extra laughs beyond the funny farce.

Kyle Sorrell plays Justin with naiveté and stupidity about his superb golfing skills.  He’s a new club employee who turns out to be a cracker-jack golfer the club uses to play in the tournament.  He is attracted to the club’s restaurant attendant, Louise, played with daffy but simple-witted charm by Ashley Stults.  Quail Valley’s manager, Bingham, is played with stern seriousness by Ted Burton, while Maren Maclean plays Pamela, a hot-to-trot club member with an eye for any guy.  Maclean’s statuesque demeanor and guttural but unfulfilled sexual proclivities are a hoot.  Gene Ganssle is the opposition club manager, Dickie, and he plays his role straight forward but his machinations and mad ideas are so stupid that they evoke lots of hilarity.  His dowdy wife, Muriel, is a stern howl in Johanna Carlisle’s dour-faced with sensible shoes performance that is a typically hysterical Carlisle characterization.  The cast of “The Fox on the Fairway” couldn’t be better and Weiner deserves credit for not only guiding his cast so lustfully but for putting these six comediennes together to insure that Actors Theatre’s “The Fox on the Fairway” is so funny.  He’s even staged the curtain calls with deliciously rivalry.

If you want to laugh mightily, you couldn’t find a better production than “The Fox on the Fairway.”  It continues through February 10 at the Herberger Theater Center.  For tickets, call the Herberger Theater Center box office at 602-252-8497 or order tickets online at www.actorstheatrePHX.org.

Grade: A