Saturday, October 20, 2007

opening-night review of *The Foursome*

At the Civic (through Nov. 11), Norm Foster’s *The Foursome* offers a sanitized version of what it’s like when middle-aged men share a round of golf while discussing their careers, girlfriends, sex, worries, ex-wives, sex, feelings, children, rivalries and sex. With half the cast shooting par and with Dave Rideout and Brad Picard playing even better than that, *The Foursome* presents some pleasing entertainment. But it merely sketches male insecurity — and with its PG-rated humor, flat jokes and frequently predictable character development, Foster’s comedy of guy-talk doesn’t come close to winning any tournaments.
From tee to tee, we follow an entire round played by the small-town family guy, the divorced guy with a trophy wife, the goody-goody sales rep with money troubles, and the sleazebag womanizer who’s full of false bravado and get-rich-quick schemes.
From the outset, Foster’s unwillingness to write an R-rated play derails his dialogue. Because when a guy wonders whether his buddy schtupped that chick last night after the party, he does not politely inquire if his friend “had relations” with her.
An entire round of golf without a single F-bomb?! Gimme a fuckin’ break. I’ve heard more profanity (literally) in the faculty room at a Catholic high school. From the *priests.*
Gentlemen, I’ve known golfers like this, I’ve played with golfers like this — and gentlemen, this dialogue is nothing like golfers’.
The result is that Foster’s play offers little more than sanitized male camaraderie funneled toward a heartwarming conclusion.

Despite all that, I laughed often at *The Foursome* and enjoyed much of it.
Dave Rideout plays the con man that all the ladies just love to love. (Until, that is, they get to know this bad, empty boy.) Rideout has the smoothest swing of the foursome (just like his character) and smirk of the smooth operator who’s just a little too smooth for his own good (and for us not to feel sure that he won’t experience some second-act change of heart, which arrives, naturally, on the 18th green).
Jerry Uppinghouse returns to the Civic as an actor for the first time in 27 years. With his beaver grin and awkward golf swing, he fulfills the type of the small-town family man who’s content with his life. He’s especially good at being the blunt truth-teller (though he also shows us Donnie’s scheming side).
Brad Picard acts convincingly whether hungover, sarcastic, world-weary, or desperate for friendship. His private little victory dances after hitting a nice golf shot, his sarcastic jibes followed by a quick high-five, his morose what-do-I-do-now? exasperation over how his life has turned out — all of it was very effectively portrayed.


In next Thursday's *Inlander,* there _would_ be additional comments on Melody Deatherage's directing and the question of gender; MIke Hynes' acting as Cameron, the sales rep; some of Foster's jokes; and a comparison with *That Championship Season* (2005 in the Studio, in which half this cast also appeared) ... there _would_ be, if I had more space in the paper,since I've already written them. But in fact, the printed review next Thursday will be about half the length of what's already here. And I'm not sure I want to go public just yet with what I've written, and my judgment is impaired at 1:37 in the morning. So that's all for now, folks. It was funny, but it wasn't real.


  1. I couldn't disagree more with the notion that something has to be vulgar to be "real". It's the same attitude that produces the "pushing the envelope" dreck we see so much of on screen. I know plenty of people that have enough respect for themselves and those around them not to drop the f-bomb, and not speak of sex as though we're all animals. What's wrong with an evening of laughter?

  2. it's sold-out for closing weekend!

  3. That was the best thing the Studio of Civic has ever produced...truely!