L.A. Daily Breeze
‘The Ladies Foursome’ a delightful stroll on the links
Review: By John Farrell POSTED: 03/16/15, 5:38 PM PDT
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays through April 2, with additional shows 2 p.m. March 22 and 8 p.m. March 25 and April 1.
Where: Little Fish Theatre, 777 Centre St., San Pedro.
Tickets: $27, $25 for seniors. Information: 310-512-6030

Canadian playwright Norm Foster is a sure bet.

His dry wit is only equaled by his understanding of human situations. Comic plays? Yes, but always with the human side — the struggle to survive and make sense of the world — lurking below the surface.

Foster is Canada’s most-produced playwright and, not incidentally, a favorite of Little Fish Theatre, which recently opened his delightful, if slightly wounded, “The Ladies Foursome.”

The play is a companion piece to Foster’s “The Foursome,” which Little Fish did several years back. The show stars four Little Fish regulars — Madeleine Drake, Amanda Karr, Susie McCarthy and Cindy Shields — as four women who are playing a round of golf in honor of their late friend Kathy. As they go from hole to hole the conversation is far-ranging, but little golf is discussed. Instead, as they tee off and shoot at each hole (with suitable noises and a projected, computer-realized background), their conversation turns introspective and revealing.

If playing golf is as emotionally revealing in the real world as it is in Foster’s imagined world, you’ve got to wonder what President Barack Obama talks about when he is on the links. Foster writes with a Canadian sensibility, though he might well deny it. That means that people are just a little nicer, perhaps simply because the playwright wants them that way.

Secrets are revealed in “The Ladies Foursome,” but they are gentle secrets, secrets that have solutions. Save for one. Kathy, the golf partner the ladies are mourning during this round, was a friend of 14 years, killed by a lightning strike at the top of a Ferris wheel. Not very funny, and when you discover that she was just about to reveal her lesbian lover when she was killed, and that lover was left alone by the tragedy, it adds a note of distress that mars the play. Perhaps director Danielle Ozymandias should have changed that part (if the author would allow it). As it was, at the play’s end there was — for at least one in the audience — more than a little emotional turmoil. But until that moment, “Foursome” is delightful, effective and charming.

Drake gives her usual grand performance as Margot, a woman who is successful in business but not in life as she is estranged from her lawyer daughter. Karr is Tate, a woman whose children need less attention, so she has time on her hands and no way to use it. She looks every bit the athlete who gives golf more than passing attention. McCarthy is the celebrity in the crowd as Connie, the local news anchor who is perpetually looking for love — well, actually sex — because her journalist husband was killed in a terrorist bombing. Advertisement Added to these three regulars (they’ve been playing together 14 years) is Dory (Shields), who is a ringer in more than one way. Turns out she has a father who was in the PGA; she might be a professional. But she has a few secrets, too.

Golf is just a device, a way to get these four women to talk about what is happening in their lives, from the search for God to an even more intense search for sexual fulfillment. Since you don’t have to walk the links with them but just sit and listen, this is an exciting and fulfilling way to enjoy the play. Just stay out of the way as they swing their clubs, and enjoy Foster’s look at four women who learn much more about themselves on this round than during a hundred previous matches.

John Farrell is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer.

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