The London Free Press
Norm Foster's The Ladies Foursome keeps laughs coming at break-neck pace
by Joe Belanger. The London Free Press
June 17, 2016

Sharon McFarlane plays Margot, Danielle Nicole is Dory, Jill Harland is Tate and Janet Monid is Connie in the Port Stanley Festival Theatre production of Norm Foster’s The Ladies Foursome, on stage until July 2. (Melissa Kempf, Special to Postmedia News)

Everyone has their secrets. Some are taken to the grave, others revealed in moments of anger, jealousy, drunken stupidity and, yes, even over a game of golf.

Norm Foster’s hit comedy The Ladies Foursome is a fun-filled romp from beginning to end with the steady driving of one-liners that hit the fairway and green with only a few lost in the ruff. It’s staged at Port Stanley Festival Theatre until July 2 starring four accomplished actors and directed by artistic director Simon Joynes.

Jill Harland plays the sexually frustrated, insecure, stay-at-home mom Tate; Janet Monid is the promiscuous, aging television news anchor, Connie; Sharon McFarlane is the divorced, estranged mother of one and workaholic construction company owner, Margot; and, Danielle Nicole as Dory, is a frustrated former Las Vegas singer and gambling addict who now lives with her husband and six children operating a tourist camp in Northern Ontario.

It’s the story of four women who meet for a round of golf the day after the funeral of a mutual friend, Katherine, killed by lightning while riding a ferris wheel. Katherine was part of a regular foursome with Margot, Connie and Tate, who didn’t know about Dory, who befriended the secretive, unmarried Katherine, a regular visitor to her resort. The fun starts at the first tee when Tate starts stretching to “loosen up” and Margot does the same by cracking open a beer. When it’s suggested someone should say a few words in honour of Katherine to begin the round, it’s Margot who steps forward. “Katherine, you went to the fair and now you’re dead so we’re playing golf with Dory instead.”

Then the game — or games — begin as the women each have their moments of truth, which begin with Connie’s admission on the first tee that she slept with Katherine’s brother after the funeral because “he looked so sad.” “It was a funeral, Connie, we were all sad,” says Margot. “I can’t sleep with everyone!” Connie replies. It’s that kind of dialogue that has made Foster Canada’s most-produced playwright.

This is a show Joynes directs at a near break-neck pace, giving the audience just enough time to catch their breath from the last laugh or disclosure, which is what this show is about — friends revealing or discovering secrets about each other and a few about the deceased Katherine. The overriding question is: Can their friendship survive the truth?

The characters are well-defined, although the performances felt just a little uneven, ranging from good to very good with Monid and McFarlane at times brilliant with their timing and natural delivery.

The set is beautiful with limestone walls and steps speckled with greenery and grass, the entire stage is utilized for the show with actors disappearing and reappearing from behind a rock wall for each scene. The theatre has been upgraded and expanded since last season with 50 new seats bringing capacity to 202. The sight lines are excellent from all seats and the intimacy is retained. The theatre is fundraising to add a room for special events and rentals with a window overlooking the harbour and a rooftop patio.

The Ladies Foursome is a very funny, heartwarming show that should not be missed. --- --- ---


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