“The Fox on the Fairway” leaps into the WCT

Photo from stagestruckview.com

Photo from stagestruckview.com

by Steven Ward

It was a boundless supply of enthusiasm and humor that carried Ken Ludwig’s tribute to the English farce, “The Fox on the Fairway,” to receive immense success with audiences in its first weekend of production.

Directed by Rio Hondo’s John Francis, and led by a cast as colorful and charismatic, the two act play pushed quite elegantly and humorously the boundaries of relation between risqué innuendos and golf.

The plot centers around a bet made by Henry Bingham, played exuberantly by the fantastic Lewis Crouse, the president of the Quail Valley Country Club, and his fierce rival Dickie Bell, who is given life through the slyly alluring and entertaining Greg Stokes. All hell breaks loose when Bell busts Bingham’s balls (golf balls, that is) by tricking his rival into thinking he has a shoe-in, when in reality his newly acquired, best-player has just switched to Bell’s team.

Hilarity ensues as Bingham, along with his vice-president and old flame Pamela Peabody, played by the vivacious and stellar Roxie Lee; attempt to find a replacement for the tournament. All while avoiding and dealing with Bell’s less-than-pleasant or faithful wife, Muriel Bingham, who is portrayed by the audacious Toni Beckman.

However, much of the life and seemingly all the complications derived from the farce revolve around the emotional, golf-prodigy, and newly engaged couple of Justin Hicks and Louise Heindbedder.

Hicks’ melodramatic melt-downs and overwhelming enthusiasm over golf are given life beautifully through the talented Justin Murphy, who at one point goes so far as to bang his head on the stage floor to convey his frustration. Murphy is best remembered from his most recent role in “All My Sons,” only a few months ago.

Heindbedder, Hicks’ sultry, energetic, fiancé, and the biggest fan of the Greek poet Homer, is portrayed elegantly by Mackenzie Campbell, whose screeching voice and drastic gestures of reciting golf-related monologues were not only hilarious, but vastly impressive.

The grand mixture of sexual innuendos, puns, and golf meld together perfectly in “The Fox on the Fairway,” which utilizes minimal props and sets, relying entirely on the ability of the actors to carry the humor on the plot from one act to the next.

Each moment is filled with side-busting laughs for both teenagers and older audiences as well, as the cast pulls together to create a group that is both cohesive and fantastic in its ability to believably work off one another.

The Whittier Community Theatre is ending its 91st season with a piece that guarantees the hilarity and entertainment that they have become known for.

“The Fox on the Fairway” will be showing through June 15, 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, $12 general, $10 seniors/children, $8 students/active military; for more info call (562) 696-0600.

Buy your tickets online at the Whittier Community Theatre website today.