note: entire contents copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone
The opening show of Newport Playhouse's 33rd year is "The Foursome" by Norm Foster. Rick, Ted, Donnie and Cameron are home for their 25th college reunion. During the weekend the men go out for a game of golf, and it is during this game that the four get caught up on their lives since their college days. This is where they share their successes and failures. The play is set on the eighteen tees of a golf and country club. The play isn't about golf, it's about what time does to us all. It's about the way we move away from life's possibilities as the years tumble by. And how memory intervenes in the present to create a seductive euphoria of the past. At first there is a lot of one-upmanship with a lot of posturing about how well each man has done. That is until the truths start to emerge, and you begin to realize that they're just ordinary guys who each have their faults and failures. Director Daniel Lee White picks topnotch actors to portray these roles and infuses them with high energy and clever shtick which earns them laughs all night long. The beautiful golf range set was painted by Tonya Free and stage manager Olivia Sahlin keeps things running smoothly all night long
The four men talk about their lives both in the past and the present. They are onstage the whole time. Donnie is a man who is in love with his family and can't shoot golf to save his life. Richard Johnson is hilarious in this role as his character utters "shit" every time he misses a shot. Donnie also speaks of his deep love and caring for his family and how they are the most important things in his life. Rick is a hustler who sells boats in Florida while attracting women and trying to squeeze money out of his friends for lame brain ideas. Rick Bagley plays this role and is excellent as this ruthless and charismatic character. His caustic one liners are laugh out loud moments especially when he makes fun of Cameron's son for being a tap dancing and ice skating kid. He opens the show with the Our Father recited to Jack Nicklaus. Rick also reveals a hidden secret that he shares with the others. Rick receives his comeuppance at the end of the game with hysterical results.
Ted is a stick in the mud until he's had a few drinks that loosen him up like drinking beer at 7 AM. Philip Clarke is fantastic as this computer businessman who is on his second marriage and is ready to become a Buddhist to please his young wife. Ted has to face up to the reality that he is more like his father than he cares to admit. Cameron, a TV ad salesman who is prone to anxiety who worries that the chums have drifted apart. Jonathan Perry is a hoot as this worrywart character. His humming and singing of the Battle Hymn is a show stopping moment. He wears the loudest pants ever seen on the stage. The men discuss relationship commitment, divorce, virility, finances, fear of losing a younger wife, alcoholism and parenting concerns. Each of the characters have their moment of truth. There is a bet made on the golf game and how it is won takes many twists and turns to give you a surprise ending. Playwright Norm Foster takes you on a roller coaster ride of madcap antics of these college chums that will leave you laughing all night long. The show ends with the four college chums singing "Oh What a Night" that has to be seen to be believed. So be sure to catch this contemporary comedy, "The Foursome" at the Newport Playhouse where you will enjoy an all you can eat buffet before the show and a fun filled cabaret afterwards.