Reggie Gowland and Peter Scolari

Credit: T. Charles Erickson


Hilarious, hilarious, and hilarious: Ken Ludwig's The Fox on the Fairway at the George Street Playhouse

Rick Busciglio for the Northern New Jersey Theater Examiner

Three words best describe the new farce "Ken Ludwig's The Fox on the Fairway" that opened this past Friday night at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick.....Hilarious, hilarious, and hilarious. This is a very, very funny physical comedy directed by GSP Artistic Director David Saint featuring an outstanding cast led by Peter Scolari (Emmy winner from the classic Newhart tv series), Michael Mastro,director of last month's 'The Subject was Roses," Mary Testa, Amy Hohn (replacing the previously announced Nancy Opel) and newcomers Reggie Gowland and Lisa McCormick, as young lovers. The play is written by the three time Tony nominee and Laurence Olivier Award winner Ken Ludwig (Lend Me A Tenor, Crazy For You, Moon Over Buffalo, etc.).

What's it about? As the title suggests, it is set on a golf course. In this case the Quail Valley Country Club... the scene of the annual inter-club golf tournament with arch rival Crouching Squirrel Country Club. The two rival country club executives, Peter Scolari as Bingham of Quail Valley, whose job is on the line since his team has not won in the past five years, and Michael Mastro as Dickie Bell of Crouching Squirrel, the pompous, arrogant, womanizer make an absurd personal bet...one that the Quail exec clearly cannot afford to lose. At the time of the wager each believes he has the advantage, but the tables keep turning at a mad-cap pace that may remind you of the Marx Brothers at their absolute zaniest. Peter Scolari is perfect as Bingham. He's fighting for his job at Quail Valley and just plain fighting with his battle-axe of a wife Muriel, played nicely by Mary Testa. Bingham's take on marriage is a bit grim, he states that "marriage is the state just above Alaska, with the same type of conditions....frozen with no drilling." The multi-talented (director-actor) Michael Mastro is, as the Brits say,'spot on' in his portrayal of the stuffed shirt, somewhat venomous Dickie, who, when not cheating with women or golf, is constantly misusing popular expressions, e.g. "You can't make straw without bricks." Throughout the play he sports the most outlandish golf-themed sweaters...gifts from a secret admirer.

The wonderful stage and film veteran Amy Hohn is the sexy club board member Pamela...who provides aid and comfort to the mostly distraught Bingham. She's been married several times and participates in only two sports...smoking and drinking. In regard to drinking, she says "I could never hold my liquor....2 or 3 bottles at most!" Reggie Gowland Is teriffic as Justin the young lover. And then there is the tiny enormous bundle of energy, Lisa McCormick. she's marvelous as Louise the club bar maid and fiancee to Justin.

The play takes place in the Tap Room of the Quail Valley Country Club (terrific set). The time is now. A nice touch: the recorded musical breaks are appropriately from the wacky Pee-Wee Herman songbook.

Bottom line: This is a broad clever farce, tightly directed, beautifully performed and loaded with belly-laughs. The audience from the beginning to the brilliant ending was howling with joy. If laughter is truly the best medicine, treat yourself to a magnum of it at the George Street Playhouse.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio March 26, 2011

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