Foster play a duffer's delight
Collingwood Connection
Saturday May 15, 2004
Jim Barber, Connection Assignment Editor

Dean Hollin is a cheater. No, seriously, he is. By bringing in a cast of well-seasoned actors, who just happen to be real-life pals, for Norm Foster's hilarious, and frighteningly insightful production of The Foursome, the artistic director of the Gayety Theatre has pretty much guaranteed a hole-in-one's worth of entertainment for his audience. Set on a golf course, the (very early) morning after a bunch of college chums have participated in the 25th anniversary commemoration of their graduating class, The Foursome's quartet of actors effortlessly work their way through the script, with such an ease, that you'd think you were eavesdropping on an actual day on the links. Foster himself is in the cast, and reminds the audience that not only is he one of the funniest and most clever playwrights this country has ever produced, but also a pretty good actor. And he would have to be, with the calibre of colleagues who join him onstage for the show's run, which ends May 22. Brian McKay, C. David Johnson (see a profile of him on Page 14) and Frank McAnulty have performed together, alongside Foster, a number of times in The Foursome, including a successful stint at Mississauga's Stage West Theatre. They've got their characters down pat, and it's amazing to see how natural the interaction is between them. McKay makes his second stop at the Gayety this season, after starring in the brilliant one-man production of Come By the Hills. He is excellent as the frenetic Cameron, the sexually-frustrated radio ad salesman who spends a great deal of time talking about the good old days and decrying the friends' lack of contact with one another over the years. Foster is the cynical Ted, trying to kick-start his life all over again with a younger second wife, for whom he will do just about anything to prevent losing her - including changing religion. Johnson plays the smart-aleck arrogant S.O.B. that we all knew and loathed in high school or university. Fans of his former TV show, Street Legal, may see some of the rogueish Chuck in his characterization of Rick, but in The Foursome, he's taken scheming, bragging and wiseacre comments to a new level.

Finally, there's lovable Donnie, the group's designated whipping boy back in university, who actually seems to have fared the best, in some ways, of the group. While he enjoys the old tales, actor McAnulty does a great job of portraying a man who has his priorities in order. The interplay, verbal jousting and chemistry between the four actors is amazing to behold. Foster's dialogue is very realistic, and very funny, and the foursome's timing was bang on this night. McAnulty stole the show a number of times, as his gyrations, machinations and ineptitude off the tee had the audience in stitches, each time it was his turn to tee-off. Foster does an accurate - maybe too accurate - job of portraying the boy-inside-the-man demeanour that plagues most males these days, as the guys bragged about sexual prowess, income levels, and tried to get one another off their games with juvenile commentary. It may not be a completely flattering portrayal of modern men, but it sure is right. Golf fans and non-duffers alike will enjoy this play. The Foursome runs until May 22. For more information, call the Gayety Theatre box office at 444-0333.

Brian McKay, Norm Foster, Frank McAnulty and C. David Johnson in The Foursome.