Issue #14 Volume 9/For the week April 3-9, 2003
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Magazine
GREATER HAMILTON'S Weekly Alternative

 

By Kerry Corrigan

THE FOURSOME

Norm Foster’s modest comedy The Foursome opens with a prayer. “Our Father, who art in Augusta,” it starts, continuing later with, “forgive us our gimmies, as we forgive those who gimmie against us.” The Foursome is, quite simply, a very funny golf game — nine holes in the first act, nine in the second. It’s played by four men together for a 25–year college reunion, all four possessed of killer, and often quite black, comedic instincts. Tight in school, they’ve since drifted apart, as is evidenced throughout the game. Old rivalries and new confessions combine to make Foster’s Foursome a hilarious evening’s entertainment.

Director Max Reimer, who also schedules the season at Aquarius, chose the show to close their 30th anniversary season as a tie–in to the RCGA Bell Canadian Open golf tournament which Hamilton is hosting in September. With war playing out graphically on the TV screen, day and night a little light diversion is welcome, and Reimer and cast deliver with a production that rises above its simple format — for, as even a fan will tell you, there’s not a lot of action in golf. Sure, the audience sees the histrionic attempts at driving a decent shot by a guy so out of the loop that he doesn’t know the difference between Greg Allman and Greg Norman. And we get another character waxing eloquent about the perfect drive, a shot so pure and beautiful in its artistry that describing it inspires the other golfers to go into a reverential choir of back-up harmonizing. But the entire action consists of four men hitting their first shot of each hole. Foster has to keep our attention with believable relationships, and that he does.

We recognize these guys: the handsome stud who never lived up to his potential, the little chubby guy, rather unattractive but happy, with a large family and contented wife, the straight–arrow ad salesman whose life is so boring he must live it vicariously through others, and the adult child of an alcoholic, trying to stay focused on his second marriage to a younger woman, falling into father’s footsteps in his alcohol consumption. Good-natured ribbing in the first act, which can start to seem a little too inconsequential by the break, develops into more caustic, meaningful and therefore compelling dialogue in the second, as the golfers each own up to truths they need to face. The individual players in Reimer’s well–cast quartet are each equally adept at playing the humour while finding the humanity in their characters.

Playwright Foster plays hung–over Ted, whose early morning antidote for pain — another beer — is enthusiastically welcomed by his mates. C. David Johnson strides over the course as Rick, each drive greeted with appreciative ‘oohs’ by his partner. Brian McKay, director of the recent Blithe Spirit, is friendly salesman Cameron in Herb Tarlicky bad pants. As Donnie, Frank McAnulty plays up his physical uniqueness for laughs. And after every shot, he explores the many different spins one can put on a one-word line: “Shit!” Ed Kotanen’s cute set is a severely raked area of Astroturf, with two giant golf balls cleverly rotating to suggest the sequential tee boxes. Surrounded on all sides by initially claustrophobic greenscapes, the setting came to life once it was lit by Jeff Johnston Collins, who created a myriad of diverse natural effects.

THE FOURSOME Written by Norm Foster / Directed by Max Reimer April 3–5, 12 @ 8pm / April 5, 12 @ 2 pm Theatre Aquarius (190 King William St., Hamilton) 905.522.7529

 
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