Reviewed by Tony Annicone
The second show of Newport Playhouse’s 34th year is “The Foursome” by Norm Foster. Rick, Ted, Donnie and Cameron are home for their 25th college reunion. During the weekend the men go out for a game of golf. During this game, they catch up on what they have been doing with their lives since college days. This is where they share their successes and failures. The play is set on eighteen tees of a golf and country club.
The play isn’t about golf, it’s about what time does to all of us. It’s about the way we move away from life’s possibilities as the years tumble by. It also is about how memory intervenes in the present to create a seductive euphoria of the past. At first there is a lot of one-upmanship with much posturing on how well each man has done. That is until the truth emerges, and you start to realize that they are ordinary guys who each have their faults and failures. Director Daniel Lee White picks topnotch performers for these four roles. He infuses them with high energy and clever shtick to keep the audience laughing all night long. The beautiful golf set is by Tonya Killavey while stage manager Olivia Sahlin keeps things running smoothly all night long.<P>
The men talk about their lives in the past and in the present and are onstage the whole time. Donnie is a man who is in love with his family and can’t shoot golf to save his life. Richard Johnson is hilarious in this role as his character utters “shit” every time he misses a putt. Donnie also talks of his deep love and caring for his family. He says they are the most important things in his life in an emotional sequence that is very well done. He also has a comic scene about a vasectomy. Rick is a hustler who sells boats in Florida while attracting women and trying to obtain money from his friends on lame brain ideas. Rick Bagley is excellent in the role of this ruthless and charismatic man. His caustic one liners are laugh out loud moments especially when he makes fun of Cameron’s son for wanting to tap dance and ice skate. He opens the show with a comic version of the Our Father dedicated to Jack Nicklaus. Rick also has a hidden secret that he shares with the others and receives his comeuppance in a hysterical moment at the end of the game.
Ted is a stick in the mud until he has a few drinks in him like a beer at 7 AM. Philip Clarke is fantastic as this computer salesman who is on his second marriage. Ted is also ready to become a Buddhist to please his younger wife. He has to face up to the reality that he is more like his father than he’d care to admit. Cameron is a TV ad salesman who is also a constant worrywart. Jonathan Perry is a hoot as this high strung character who is worried that his friends have drifted apart. His humming of the Battle Hymn is a show stopping moment as Rick Bagley recites a meaningful speech about why they like golfing. He also wears one of the loudest pants ever seen on any stage. These four friends discuss relationship commitment, divorce, virility, fears of losing a younger wife, alcoholism and parenting concerns. Each of them has their moment of truth. There is a bet made on the game that follows many comic twists and turns to it’s final comic conclusion. The show ends with the four chums singing an hilarious version of “Oh, What a Night” that has to be seen to be believed. So be sure to catch this contemporary comedy by Norm Foster as it takes you on a roller coaster ride of madcap antics by these four performers. Before the show enjoy a delicious all you can eat buffet and an after the show fun filled cabaret back in the restaurant.
THE FOURSOME ( 30 March to 13 May)
Newport Playhouse, 102 Connell Highway, Newport, RI
1(401)848-7529 or www.newportplayhouse.com