Grand Theatre Foursome’s life lessons, laughs hit the green
By Joe Belanger, The London Free Press Friday, January 23, 2015
Rating: **** (out of five)
Marci T House, playing Dory, Ingrid Rae Doucet, playing Tate, Catherine Fitch, playing Margot, and Sarah Orenstein, playing Connie, in a scene from The Ladies Foursome, a golf-themed play by Norm Foster, at The Grand Theatre in London, Ontario on Tuesday January 20, 2015. The play runs January 20 to February 7. CRAIG GLOVER/The London Free Press/QMI Agency.
“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots, but you have to play the ball where it lies.” — Bobby Jones, legendary golfer

Anyone who’s played golf knows the wisdom of Bobby Jones’ words. For those who haven’t golfed, they’ll find the truth of those words in the Grand Theatre’s production of Norm Foster’s The Ladies’ Foursome.

It helps explain why Connie, Tate, Margot and new-found friend Dory seek and find solace, comfort and life lessons swinging golf clubs in honour of their pal Katherine who was killed by lightning a few days before while riding a Ferris wheel.

Foster weaves the tragedy into a two-hour play filled with belly laughs while exploring the meaning of friendship. The ovation as Ingrid Rae Doucet (Tate), Catherine Fitch (Margot), Sarah Orenstein (Connie) and Marci House (Dory) left the stage was well-earned.

The story begins on the first tee where Connie (a promiscuous, single, television news anchor), Tate (a stay-at-home mom married to a surgeon) and Margot (a divorced workaholic who runs a construction company) gather to play a round of golf in tribute to their late friend with whom they’ve had a foursome for 14 years.

They invite Dory, owner of a wilderness lodge in Northern Ontario, to join them after discovering she, too, was a close friend of Katherine, who stayed at the Dory’s lodge for two weeks every summer for 12 years. That was the first of many secrets the ladies discover about Katherine and themselves as the game unfolds.

These four talented actors bring Foster’s characters to life, each with their own quirky personality traits that range from amusing to hilarious, sad to shocking. Their timing is perfect as they tease and argue with each other, banter that only good friends can share.

There are a lot of great moments, one of the more memorable a soliloquy delivered by Orenstein’s Connie as she steps up to the 18th tee.

House’s performance as Dory seemed a little uneven at first, but you soon discover she, too, has secrets that explain her abrupt personality changes.

Dana Osborne’s set and costume designs fit the bill, visually appealing and functional, allowing nothing to interfere, interrupt or distract from Foster’s comedic dialogue. Director Brenda Bazinet has done an outstanding job with the cast and, especially, the script, wringing every possible chuckle and tear out of Foster’s words.

This is a fast-paced play that commands your attention and compels you to examine your own life as the story unfolds.

If you’re looking for something to lift you out of winter’s grey, icy grip, The Ladies’ Foursome is the remedy you won’t regret.

joe.belanger@sunmedia.ca --- --- ---

IF YOU GO What: The Ladies’ Foursome, a comedy by Norm Foster, directed by Brenda Bazinet.

Where: The Grand Theatre, 471 Richmond St.

When: On until Feb. 7. Tickets: Prices vary from $29.95 to $79.10, available at the box office, by calling ­519-672-8800 or online at grandtheatre.com

Rating: **** (out of five)

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