The Regina Leader Post
 
The Ladies Foursome drives home the celebration of friendship
May 27, 2016
JEFF DEDEKKER, REGINA LEADER-POST
 
Jamie Lee Shebelski, Elana Post, Deborah Drakeford and Melanie Janzen. 2016

Golf is a game of skill but for most recreational golfers, it’s more of a social activity between friends. And when friends get together, there are very few topics that are off limits and the ensuing conversations can be funny, thought provoking or even infuriating.

The Ladies Foursome, the latest mainstage production of Globe Theatre, is a perfect example of the social scenario. Written by Norm Foster, the production has an interesting premise — after the death of a friend who was part of their weekly foursome, three friends are joined by a fourth woman who was an acquaintance of the recently departed. The women hit the links for a round to honour their friend and over the 18 holes, laughs are shared, secrets are revealed and the complexities of life are debated.

While serious subjects are touched upon during the production, it is first and foremost a comedy. Foster, one of Canada’s most successful and prolific playwrights, is known for his comedic touch and this play is stuffed full of laughs. It helps that the only similarities the four characters have is their gender — they are four distinctly different people.

Connie (Melanie Janzen) is a television anchor who finds sport in bedding men; Tate (Jamie Lee Shebelski) is a rich, stay-at-home mom who appears to be living an idyllic life; Margot (Deborah Drakeford) is a no-nonsense business woman who has devoted her life to her career; and, Dory (Elana Post) is the newcomer who runs a resort in the wilderness with her husband. While all four women are given numerous opportunities to display their comedic chops, Janzen has the meatiest role. Before the round even begins, Tate and Margot have to wait for Connie who is flirting with the cart boy. When they chastise her about flirting with a younger man, Connie tells them, “I’d love to give him a tumble.” When they point out that he’s half her age, she replies, “So, I’ll give him two tumbles.”

Tate is a little on the neurotic side and Shebelski, who is from Saskatoon, got plenty of laughs out of the quirks. Margot, who says she only golfs because “where else can you drink this early in the morning and people think it’s normal,” has the shortest temper in the group and those explosions of anger are hysterical because they’re so out of control.

And then there’s Dory — she initially appears to have the most control over life but as she realizes that maybe her tranquil life in the country isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, the frustrating realizations provide a few chuckles at her expense.

The beauty of the production is how Foster has used the comedy to frame some serious issues in the lives of these women yet we aren’t left feeling sorry for them. The golfers come to the realization that while dealing with the day-to-day realities of life, they may have glossed over a few bumps in the road. All the effort they’ve spent trying to convince people about the quality of their lives may have really been spent actually convincing themselves that their lives had meaning and purpose.

That’s some serious subject matter yet Foster’s touch is light enough that it doesn’t bog down the pace or mood of the production. What is even more remarkable is that Foster was able to pen such remarkable dialogue for women without sounding stilted or awkward.

Director Max Reimer, who now has six Globe productions under his belt over the past five years, did a masterful job in allowing the four actors to bring Foster’s work to life. Reimer has directed other works by Foster and it’s evident that he understands the style of the playwright.

Joining Reimer on the creative team for the production, which is scheduled to run through June 12, are Stephanie Graham (assistant director), Johanna de Vries (set designer), Charity Gadica (costume design), Renee Brode (lighting designer), Patrick Andrews (sound designer), Kathryn Ball (stage manager) and Loreen Gibson (assistant stage manager).

jdedekker@postmedia.com

 

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