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2nd Star Productions The Foreigner

By • Sep 7th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
The Foreigner by Larry Shue
2nd Star Productions
Bowie Playhouse, Bowie, MD
Through September 10th
2:30 with one intermission
$20/$17 Seniors and Students
Reviewed September 3rd, 2011

2nd Star Productions has opened their season with Larry Shue’s hilarious comedy The Foreigner. Englishman Charlie Baker is visiting Georgia with an old army buddy of his as a respite from his wife’s hospital stay. Unfortunately Charlie is extremely shy, so he forces his buddy to promise him that he won’t have to interact with anybody at the lodge. “Froggy” does this by telling Betty, the lodge’s owner, that Charlie doesn’t speak English at all. It seems like a practical plan, until everyone at the inn begins to share their real selves with Charlie.

Director Jane B. Wingard has successfully made these characters real to the audience. Yes, the situation called for is a bit nutty. But you don’t go into a comedy expecting a lot of realism. Don’t we all speak a lot louder and more slowly when talking with someone who doesn’t speak English? Don’t all heiresses live in a rural fishing lodge? Steve English makes Charlie Baker into a friendly chap, who we want to have a good time on his vacation, yet we feel sorry for him for having to deal with these silly people talking with him. But by halfway through the second act when people’s motives have been clarified, we are pulling for the group to succeed in their battle.

Steve English’s delivery of a boisterous monologue in his “native tongue” was wonderful, complemented by the reactions of his audience. Froggy (Tim Sayles) had a strong rapport with ditzy Betty Meeks (Barbara Webber), while brother and sister Catherine and Ellard (Erin Lorenz and Steve Love) supported each other, despite their problems. Rev. David Lee (Devin Wootton) and Owen Musser (Ken Kienas) demonstrated how opposites can attract.

Jane Wingard’s set was attractive. Make sure you read the signs and notices on the upstage wall, they show a great deal of attention to details. The costumes and lights were appropriate, while the sound effects helped complement the ambience, although at times were a touch too loud, especially as some of the actors weren’t projecting well at all, making some conversations difficult to follow. The cast also appeared to recover well from missing two performances opening weekend due to hurricane Irene.

In sum, 2nd Star’s The Foreigner was an entertaining show, a great way to forget earthquakes, hurricanes, the economy and Maryland’s uniforms.

Director’s Note

There are enough politically incorrect things in The Foreigner that if treated in the wrong way, could offend almost everybody. However, Larry Shue has handled the subject matter in a manner that creates one of the funniest comedies that has ever been put on stage. Be assured that our aim is certainly not to offend, but to provide laughs aplenty, in a time when the daily atmosphere dictates that laughter needs to be the best medicine. Who can afford anything else?

Actually laughter has been one of the guiding principles of 2nd Star– to lighten the load of our patrons with laughter and music–to send them on their way with a song in their hearts and a smile on their lips. Quality in all aspects of the productions is and always has been, a top priority. To quote the old Jedi master, “Do or do not–there is no try.” Are things always perfect? This is live theatre and that quest toward perfection is an adventure. For this production we have assembled a stellar cast whose talents and dedication brings the characters to life in a most delightful way. Laugh! Enjoy! and at intermission go purchase your season tickets, if you haven’t already done so. They are available in the lobby now.

Jane B. Wingard, Director

Cast

  • Charlie Baker: Steve English
  • “Froggy” LeSuer: Tim Sayles
  • Betty Meeks: Barbara Webber
  • Rev. David Marshall Lee: Devin Wootten
  • Catherine Simms: Erin Lorenz
  • Owen Musser: Ken Kienas
  • Ellard Simms: Steve Love

Crew

  • Director: Jane B. Wingard
  • Producer: Jane B. Wingard
  • Stage Manager/Properties: Joanne D. Wilson
  • Set Designer/Scenic Artist: Jane B. Wingard
  • Scenic Assistants: Bill Bagaria, Gail Bagaria
  • Lighting & Sound Design: Garrett R. Hyde
  • Lighting/Sound Technician: Pete Dursin, Al Chopey, Walter Kleinfelder
  • Costume Coordinators: Joanne Wilson, Jane B. Wingard
  • Load In Crew: Garrett Hyde, pete Dursin, Al Chopey, Walter Kleinfelder, Jane Wingard, Joanne Wilson, Duane Rouch, Steve Andrews, Bill Davis, Stevie Mangum, Dick Russell, Martty Hayes, Gail Bagaria, Bill Bagaria,
  • Publicity: Janice Coffey, Debe Tighe, Martin Hayes
  • Webmaster: Lynne Wilson
  • Front of House Manager: Gail Bagaria
  • Reservations: Jane B. Wingard
  • Reservations Assistants: Gerry Verrier, Patti Mangum
  • Photography: Debe Tighe, Joanne Wilson
  • Program: Lynne Wilson

Disclaimer: 2nd Star Productions provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has performed in local productions, but prefers to be behind the scenes. Mike earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and the Online News Association.

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