Foster finds truth with golf
Stage West comedy reveals four men's hidden insecurities

Kitchener-Waterloo Record

Friday March 5, 2004


REVIEW -- If you've ever been to a high school or college reunion, or if you play golf, you'll really be in tune with Norm Foster's comedy The Foursome. The show, which opened last week at Stage West in Mississauga, has enough laughs to keep you chuckling for two hours. Just last May I attended the 50th anniversary of my graduating class, and yes, we had a golf game, and a lot of the truths that Foster lays out with humour surfaced during that game and the other events, so I know that he knows whereof he speaks. In The Foursome four old college buddies are attending their 25th anniversary of graduation, and they head for the golf course. At first there's a lot of one-upmanship, posturing about how well each one has done, but gradually the truths start to emerge, and you begin to realize that they're just ordinary guys and that they all have faults and failings. The golf game, of course, is simply a vehicle for Foster to get these guys alone and have them open up about a lot of things that guys only come clean about when they're with other guys.

Rick, smoothly played by C. David Johnson, is the one who seems to have it all together. He moved to Florida and he sells boats. Still a bachelor, he seems to be living the life and having the loves that the others can only dream about, and, at first, he rubs it in with controlled smugness. Laid-back Ted, played by playwright Foster himself, is married for the second time, and to a woman much younger than himself. He takes a lot of kidding about that, and his desire to put away a six-pack before the sun has left the horizon makes it apparent that he has a drinking problem. Then there's Cameron, nervously portrayed by Brian McKay, wearing loud pants, a bit of a hypochondriac and insecure about his job as a television ad salesman, covering it all up by his over-enthusiasm for the game and his bouncy attitude. Finally there's unsophisticated Donnie, captured by Frank McAnulty. He's short, tubby, couldn't hit a golf ball if his life depended on it, and with four children and a wife he adores he feels that he's the loser of the lot, for his life has been nothing but routine.

Rick is the only really good golfer, of course, so they split into two teams to play best ball at five dollars a hole. Rick partners with Donnie -- that means the only ball that will be played in that pair will be his own. Every time Donnie hits he gives you another way to say the poop word. Then the truths start emerging -- one has an 11-year-old son attending dance classes, one wife left for another woman, one guy is sterile, another has had a vasectomy, one is a complete worrywart. They talk about colonoscopies, house security systems, Buddhism, alcoholism, and as the levels below the surfaces all start to come out you begin to think that the most successful guy may very well be the one who doesn't think he's done anything worthwhile with his life. It all sounds pretty serious, doesn't it? And it is, but Foster has a way of putting it all across with warm humour and brilliant one-liners, and what better way of getting the message across? When they mention meditating -- trying to let your mind go completely blank and reach a point of nothing -- Ted replies he can do that by reading Danielle Steel. When Cameron asks them all to pick one girl they knew in their student days that they all wished they'd slept with but never did, at first he can't understand why none of them mentioned his beautiful wife Laurie. Later, the realization dawns. This play is quintessential Foster, brilliant observations of the reality of the human condition told with subtle but devastating humour.

Brian McKay and Norm Foster in The Foursome. Photo by Joe Callura


Who: The Foursome Where: Stage West, 5400 Dixie Rd., Mississauga When: Through April 18 Time: Cost: From $49 to $88 (includes buffet) Phone: 1-800-263-0684 Web: