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Sun Journal
Solid performances, hilarious banter make 'The Ladies Foursome' a winner
David A. Sargent, Special to the Sun Journal
Thursday, January 28, 2016
 

LEWISTON — There’s lots of keen competition at The Public Theatre when “The Ladies Foursome” tees off for a round of golf that’s packed with hilarious banter and unexpected insight. Under the guidance of guest director Judith Ivey — a Tony and Drama Desk Award winner — this production pleases on all levels.

Three very good friends are playing a round of golf in honor of Catherine, their recently-deceased friend and their fourth on the course during the past 14 years. On this day, they are joined by another old friend of Catherine whom they met at the previous day’s funeral but had never been known to them before. Secrets and confessions unravel as the women discuss love, sex, children and everything in between. Solid performances by all four women of the cast add up to a winning score card. The play is filled with laughs leading up to a touching conclusion.

It’s Dory, the “new” fourth, portrayed by Caralyn Kozlowski, who triggers some serious soul-searching among the regulars who had always taken their friendships for granted. At first, the ladies are finding it difficult to include the new member in their regular foursome. Dory becomes the catalyst for the three friends to look at their relationships under a new light. Kozlowski is making her first appearance on the TPT stage. She has numerous stage, film and television credits, including “Law and Order” and “Guiding Light.”

 
Tara Flannagan, Janet Mitchko, Brigitte Viellieu-David and Caralyn Kozlowski

Connie, played by Brigitte Viellieu-Davis, is the better player of the long-time friends. She is knocked a little off-stride when Dory tells them she was taught to play golf by her father, a PGA tour veteran. Connie is a TV news anchor with a reputation for sleeping around, and she’s got a strong competitive streak in her personality. That shows up when the possibility of a surreptitious side-bet is presented. Viellieu-Davis appeared in TPT’s production of “Gunshy” several seasons ago.

Tarah Flanagan’s portrayal of Tate is excellent. Tate is a stay-at-home mom whose shyness and soft-spoken manner masks some real spunk. Flanagan appeared in TPT’s production of “The Language Archive” in 2012. She will also be remembered for other performances at TPT, including “Private Lives,” “The Nerd,” “Almost Maine” and “13th of Paris.”

Janet Mitchko, who is TPT’s co-artistic director, plays Margot, a divorced workaholic who runs a construction company. Her drives from the tee draw laughs with her routine four-letter expletives. Mitchko’s portrayal of Margot is tough on the outside, but there’s a vulnerable side that gets tested to the limit when she discloses that she has a new and serious boyfriend. Mitchko has directed or acted in dozens of TPT shows during 20-plus years.

Director Ivey’s approach reflects the style and values that have been popular with area audiences throughout TPT’s 25 years in Lewiston. Ivey’s Tony and Drama Desk awards were for her Broadway performances in “Steaming” and “Hurlyburly.” She is well-known for her numerous roles on stage, in film and on television, including recurring roles on “Will and Grace” and “Designing Women.”

The on-stage golf course is designed by Kit Mayer. Bart Garvey is lighting designer and the ladies’ golf attire is by Jonna Klaiber. Lisa Bragdon is stage manager.

“The Ladies Foursome” is one of the newest of several dozen plays written by Norm Foster. He’s known as Canada’s Neil Simon, and the witty dialogue in this show is rapid-fire and right on target.

The Public Theatre continues its PLAY PAL program solo theatre-lovers. There is also a newly-added “Wine-Down” at Thursday’s performance Jan. 28. It’s a free, pre-show wine-tasting hosted by Rails Restaurant starting at 6:30 p.m.

Attendance at the “The Ladies Foursome” is recommended for those of grade-10 age and older. Remaining performances of “The Ladies Foursome” are 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 28-29; at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31. There will be an added matinee at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30. For tickets, call the box office at 782-3200 or go online to www.thepublictheatre.org. Tickets are $20 for adults and there is a group rate of $17 for 10 or more.

The Public Theatre is located at 31 Maple St. in downtown Lewiston.

 

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