‘The Foreigner’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by April 21, 2016

‘The Foreigner’ is an exceptionally funny, light-hearted comedy written by Larry Shue, who was born in New Orleans at the end of World War 2, sadly dying at the age 39 in a 14-seater, plane crash.

Presented by the Darlington Theatre Players Inc, at the Marloo Theatre, 20 Marloo Road, Greenmount Hill, Mundaring. This hilarious, two-hour and a quarter hour play – which premiered in 1983 – can be seen on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8.00 until 7th May. There are matinees on 24th April 24 and 1st May at 2.00 pm.

 

The scene is the 1980s in a USA fishing lodge in rural Georgia.

This set is another jaw-dropping production from the best set designer in the area – George Boyd. Built by a dozen hard workers, including the techs and cast, and working on a minimal budget we are presented with a massive, timber panelled, lounge (convincing painting by Adrian Ashman), a double staircase, a brick chimney, motel reception area and patio doors with rain lashing down outside. As always at the Marloo, there were numerous props to give that special touch of authenticity (Lesley Sutton, Ray Egan).

The sound effects were crisp (George Boyd) and operated perfectly by Belinda Beattie. Several lighting effects, including a lightning storm, were well planned by Michael Hart and David Bain, then operated by Brendan Tobin. There were several unusual – to say the least – costumes required, and Marjorie De Caux was there as always.

 

       When English SAS trainer, Froggy Le Soeur (Keith Scrivens) has to go to America for a course, he takes along his friend Charlie (Joe Isaia) who has marital problems and depressed. He also suffers from extreme nervousness when in company. In fact, he is petrified to talk to anyone. 

      The two men arrive at Betty Meeks (Jacqui Warner) country fishing lodge. Betty has the usual warm welcome, but it is obvious that she is hitting hard times and having trouble maintaining the guesthouse.

      To hide Charlie’s shyness, Froggy tells Betty that Charlie is a foreigner and cannot speak a word of English. Because of this false assumption, whilst Charlie sits having a cup of tea, he hears several private conversations, including the ‘love secrets’ of the local vicar, David (Rodney Van Groningen) and his fiancée, Catherine (Kylie Isaia). Within hours, further local scandals become exposed.

      Before long, Charlie finds himself being taught English by Catherine’s retarded brother, Ellard (Blake Prosser). Into the house comes a local undesirable, Owen (Richard Hadler) an inbred thug who hates ‘outsiders’. Very soon, Charlie is in major trouble.

 

The director, Robert Warner and his assistant Joe Isaia faced a major task putting on such an unusual style of comedy. They chose a fabulous cast, including some of Community Theatre’s funniest actors; the chemistry between them was outstanding.

The giggles poured out, with a couple of belly laughs a minute. There were no jokes, it could not be described as a farce, and yet it was one of the funniest shows I have seen in months. Although every actor was perfectly tuned in and each gave a tremendous performance, I am sure they will not mind me saying that it was Joe Isaia – with their help – who nailed it. His expressions and body language had the audience falling about. Superb teamwork.

This is a DON’T MISS production. Hilarious from the opening minutes.