The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

May 15, 2013

“The Fox on the Fairway” is funny

Posted by rdurbin

If you go to see Coach House Theatre’s latest farce, Ken Ludwig’s “The Fox on the Fairway,” hang in there. Stay through the second act, cause that’s where most of the fun is.

Farces aren’t great brainteasers, although in this case, you may have to ponder how three couples (two already or formerly married and one trying to get engaged and married) who are looking for new great love in their lives – and a high-stakes golf tourney at the local country club – can possibly come together.

The plot centers on the leaders of the Quail Valley Country Club. Bingham, the president (played by Terry Burgler), and his vice-president, Pamela (played by Dede Klein), are trying to save a golfing bet. The person that Bingham thought would play for his club defected to the other side under the persuasion of Dickie (played by Henry C. Bishop).

Enter Justin (Kevin Glass), a new hired hand who is in love with Louise (Holly Humes). Turns out he can play a mean game of golf. As the plot proceeds, Justin has a commanding lead. However once he discovers Louise accidentally flushed their engagement ring down the toilet, he loses it – and starts losing the game and therefore Bingham’s bet.

It’s really unclear in retrospect how Bingham, who is already married, and his mistress, the ever sexually charged Pamela, are the good guys in this one and need to be saved and vindicated, but they are. It turns out all right, though, since Bingham’s wife (Karen L. Wood) and Dickie, his archrival, have always had eyes for one another.

Henry C. Bishop and Karen L. Wood in "Fox on the Fairway." Photo courtesy of Coach House Theatre

Ah, wouldn’t it be nice if life were that tidy and not the messy illogical experience we all wind our way through?

There are plenty of jokes, puns, and sly innuendos throughout all the shenanigans. At one point, for example, as Bingham and Pamela are getting passionate, club members overhear them because the microphone used to make announcements during the tournament was left on.

Other laughs come from the gifted actors. Holly Humes tosses out sexual metaphors with beguiling innocence, making them even funnier. Henry Bishop dons his Dickie with earnest silliness and sophomoric wit. Dede Klein is glamorously carnal, while Karen Wood takes the mistreated wife character to new heights.

Director Burgler (who will be replaced in the Bingham role by actor Mark Stoffer the last weekend) kept the door-slamming pace exact. The action brimmed, which it needs to do in a farce.

“The Fox on the Fairway” will play at 8 p.m. on Thursday-Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday through June 2 at Coach House Theatre, 732 W. Exchange St., Akron; 330-434-7741; Tickets are $18.

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