Carpenter Square is presenting “Fox on the Fairway” a tribute by Ken Ludwig to the fabulous comedic decades of the 30’s and 40’s. Ludwig’s command of comedy is taken to hitherto unknown heights by the cast of “Fox on the Fairway” directed by Rhonda Clark.
One of the greatest delights of great comedy comes as each actor stretches the audience imagination with subtlety enabling the viewer to accept impossibly far-fetched situations. The slightly understated amusement weaving through each hilarious scene allows us to accept incredible stupidity on the part of the character as he attempts to overcome the outrageous. This cast is anything but subtle as they capitalize on the zany without the undercurrent.
The action takes place at the Quail Valley Country Club in the tap room. Max, the owner of the country club frantically prepares for the inter-club golf tournament they are hosting. Suddenly he finds himself making an impossible wager with their primary opponent in the upcoming tournament. Now his golfer must win or else!
The two antagonists are Terry Veal as Max Bingham and Nick Backes as the slippery Dickie. Two desperate men. And of course, as in any great farce, desperation leads to dynamically dumb. Add a couple of slightly jaded, reasonably intelligent ladies of uncertain age, desperate for a decent man. Mona Campbell plays Pamela, assistant to Max and she is also the ex-wife of Dickie. Sheryl Martin plays Muriel, married to Max, a marriage that inspires a battle-axe. Throw into this mix the two young lovers, who make all the mistakes young lovers make. These two are Louise, played by Dina Peek and Justin played by Jeff Moody. The two are silly about everything, but they are the only two who have the talent a golfer needs.
“Fox on the Fairway” is a wonderful modern farce, especially for avid golfers. Full of laughs and slightly familiar jokes the play is a welcome respite from the usual holiday fare.
Clark’s expert direction gives substance to the performance. For the most part, the actors perform superbly, however a little more subtlety on the part of Veal might have been more natural and therefore more hysterical.
“Fox on the Fairway” is presented at Carpenter Square’s new location at 800 West Main in downtown Oklahoma City through December 17, 2011. For a few much needed laughs this season contact the box office at 405-232-6500.
While the Pollard’s annual presentation of the traditional “A Territorial Christmas Carol” is quite outstanding, the review published by the Oklahoman refers specifically to Cast A. There are two alternating casts for all the children’s roles in every production. Having seen the production with Cast B, one notices a slightly different relationship as the adults accommodate the characters of the alternating casts. The show with the second cast is just as outstanding and entertaining as the show with the first cast.
Cast B members performing as brilliantly as their Cast A counterparts are: Lucas Carrera as Tiny Tim, Elijah Carrera as brother Peter and William Moody, Brittan Benedict as Martha, Allie Rosson as Belinda, Abraham Carrera as Tom Billings, Gabriella Sanderson as Ignorance, Alexis Smalls as the Girl on the Bridge, Katherine Sanderson as another Girl on the Bridge and Katherine Rosson as the Widow’s Daughter.
Either production is notably excellent. The greatest joy in seeing this production comes from also watching a child in the audience. Their eyes grow round and their ears perk up as the scoot forward to catch every phrase and movement delivered.
The Pollard Theatre presents “A Territorial Christmas Carol” through December 23. Ticket information is available on line at www.thepollard.org or call the box office at 405-282-2800 after 10am Tuesday through Saturday. This tradition has the opportunity of becoming a family tradition for everyone. The Victorian Walk in Guthrie is Saturday evening December 10 and 17. What fun to come at 5pm in Victorian Costume and take in the sights and lights of downtown Guthrie before the show!
A favorite Christmas tradition for Oklahoma City metropolitan area patrons is “A Territorial Christmas Carol” at the Pollard Theatre just 20 minutes north of Oklahoma City in the First Capital, Guthrie, Oklahoma. This year’s production is an excellent way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas without being either commercial or saccharine.
The story never changes yet the production is as variable as each unique snowflake. This year “A Territorial Christmas Carol” seems a bit more cohesive than some of the previous productions. The children’s roles are handled with two separate alternating casts. Both casts are equally excellent and the double casting serves to increase the opportunities for talented children while decreasing the stress on youngsters who might otherwise overextend with performances every night on all the weekends of the production. While comments herein refer specifically to Cast A, the entertainment value with all productions remains intact.
“A Territorial Christmas Carol: An Oklahoma Tradition” is an adaptation by Stephen P. Scott of the classic “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. W. Jerome Stevenson directs this production with sensitive attention to both Cast A and Cast B for the children. Stevenson also has the wisdom to let the adult cast members have as much fun with the children and with the roles as they can and the result is clearly outstanding. An excellent crew compliments the performers as usual.
The role of Ebenezer Scrooge is superbly handled by James Ong. This year’s interpretation has a beautiful and well defined shift from miserly miserable to enchanting in his performance. James A. Hughes as Bob Cratchit is beautifully manipulated. Timothy Stewart as Dickens tells the story with modest sincerity. Jake DeTommaso as Scrooge’s nephew is humorous and natural, Michael Edsel as John Kettle is perfectly rustic, and Stevenson himself as Jacob Marley is ghoulishly frightening yet sympathetic in rendition. Kacy Southerland as Mrs. Cratchit is warmly maternal, Gwendolyn Evans as Widow Brown is exceptional and Emily Brown as Belle is a delightfully competent young woman. Trinity Goodwin as the Ghost of Christmas Past is perfectly beautiful and serenely ominous. All of these actors excepting only Ong take on additional roles with well-defined competence and clarity.
And the fun part with the children of Cast A begins with Gracie Lugo as Tiny Tim. Lugo handles the role with aplomb and burgeoning talent. The role of Peter Cratchit and William Moody is exceptionally well done by Jessey Yeager with sisters Maranda and Chelsea Yeager taking the roles of Martha and Belinda Cratchit with assurance. The remaining youngsters are portrayed by Jackson Riley, Tyler Riley and Grace Riley with Blakely Huskey and Natalie Huskey. All the children perform with consistency and great talent.
“A Territorial Christmas Carol: An Oklahoma Tradition” can be seen through December 23, 2011 at the Pollard Theatre in Guthrie Oklahoma located at 120 W. Harrison. For more information or to purchase tickets contact the box office Tuesday through Saturday between 10am to 5pm at 405-282-2800 or visit www.thepollard.org.
Don Taylor directs an excellent “Flaming Idiots” for Jewel Box Theatre. The two ‘idiots’ are extremely endearing fellows and the trouble they get into trying to get out of trouble is somewhat unbelievable. However, Taylor makes it believable and the actors create an atmosphere of frenetic hysteria that no audience can quite resist.
“Flaming Idiots” is written by Tom Rooney and tells the story of two young men with a dream and their efforts to become successful in spite of themselves. In a series of very unlikely events they manage to astound with profound stupidity and yet they somehow prevail against all odds. So, of course, the script is hysterical. Taylor cast actors with the physicality and timing to keep the audience tittering.
J. Aaron Chartier as Carl, the hapless sidekick and Chris Briscoe as Phil, the driving force behind the new Phil’s Restaurant, are well suited to their roles. Briscoe carries off a barely containable whirlwind of knee-jerk responses that creates all the drama and comedy the author intends. Carl is a dreamer and seems unaware of external events until those events hit him full in the face and Chartier presents the character with charm and versatility. The slapstick result works well.
Alex Prather as Eugene, the star-struck waiter with his own dream of stardom is very funny. Josh McGowen as Ernesto, the slick and sexy busboy is outstanding. Marcus Wade as mounted police officer Task and Paul Smith as Louie the hit-man create two memorable stereotypes with just the right amount of sensitivity to overcome the impossibility of their careers.
The six men that carry this comedy to the audience with such lack of wisdom are amazing and funny. They are flaming and idiotic and we all know them well. The two women in the cast must rise to the same level of ridiculousness with wit and grace. They do. Rachael Messer as Chef Bernadette is cute and brings just the right note of seriousness to her role. Christine Jolly as Jayn,e every newspaper’s nightmare is sexy, funny and just brave enough to create a woman with many mediocre talents.
The set for “Flaming Idiots” is one of the best Jewel Box patrons have been privileged to see. Richard Howells has constructed the beautiful set. Technical Director, David Hestor also creates a secure backdrop for Taylor to direct this piece with his overall design concepts. Taylor also takes advantage of talented assistants in Assistant Director Jennifer Teel, Stage Manager, Amandanelle Bold and Assistant Stage Manager Liz Holmes. Sheila Sewell, Properties Mistress and her assistant, Jared Blount along with Costumer Mimi Lynch allow Taylor the concentration needed to focus and direct the comedy with ease. A director who can delegate this well should be commended. Lighting Designer, James Gordon creates the stark atmosphere without glare and rounds out the excellent crew for this Jewel Box production.
“Flaming Idiots” runs through December 11, 2011 and is a must do for the holiday season. The cheer is not Christmas cheer, and that may be a welcome blessing. There are a few gunshots in the play and they use a starter gun with blanks so the audience is perfectly safe and startled.
For ticket information visit jewelboxtheatre,org or call 405-521-1786. The box office is open to take calls Tuesday through Friday afternoons. Curtain is at 8pm with matinee performances every Sunday at 2pm through December 11, 2011. The Jewel Box Theatre is located at 3700 N. Walker Avenue in Oklahoma City at the First Christian Church.