Linda Gillum, Lance Baker and Norm Boucher star in the Chicago area premiere of "The Fox on the Fairway" at Theater at the Center in Munster.
‘The Fox on the Fairway’
♦ Through March 24
♦ Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Ind.
♦ Tickets, $38-$42
♦ (219) 836-3255;
Updated: February 20, 2013 4:34PM
He believes he has the best golfer playing on his side, so Henry is convinced that his team can’t lose. That’s why he commits to an outrageous wager in which he bets $200,000, his wife’s antique business and his job as the president of the Briar Ridge Country Club.
But the possibility that he could lose everything soon becomes a reality when the golfer that Henry counted on has gone over to the other side in the hilarious Chicago-area premiere of “The Fox on the Fairway,” now playing at Theatre at the Center in Munster, Ind.
Of course, since the frothy confection by Ken Ludwig (“Lend Me a Tenor,” “Crazy for You”) is a comic farce, things soon spiral out of control with zany complications. As the humorous plot begins to thicken, madcap moments build to a crescendo of crowd-pleasing hilarity. It’s not just that the intricate shenanigans of the romantic romp keep one in stitches, but the rapid-fire zingers and witty dialogue makes this the best Ludwig comedy to date.
In a farce such as this, timing is everything, and the gears of this show move like precision clockwork.
Director William Pullinsi has crafted the show with a subtle touch, making sure that the characters don’t come across as caricatures, but as real people. To that end, he has brought together a consummate group of performers who dazzle us with razor-sharp portrayals.
Lance Baker, perhaps more widely known for his dramatic roles, now goes against type to deliver a compelling gem of a droll, Noel Coward-esque turn as the worldly-wise Henry. Linda Gillum, as Henry’s wisecracking confidant and love interest, is a hoot with her nose-in-the-air and grander-than-thou crustiness as she shells out very funny one-liners such as this gem: “Golf and sex are the only things you can enjoy without having to be good at it.”
There’s also Michael Mahler in a charming turn as the new hired hand who is so lovesick over his beautiful girlfriend Louise, (playfully performed by Kate Bergeron), that he just may ruin the game of Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicholson for the country club.
Other contributors to the humorous frolic include Norm Boucher in a cunning and roguish portrayal of Dickie, the guy who concocts the 43rd annual grudge match between the opposing country clubs, and Laura Freeman as Henry’s wild, bully of a wife.
This is a riot of a hilarious show, but to add to its joyful exuberance, sound designer Barry G. Funderburg has heightened the fun-filled, upbeat mood of the production by inserting melodious musical numbers that include a Sousa march, Wagner’s “Tannhauser” and “The William Tell Overture.”
Betty Mohr is a local free-lance writer.