Scarborough Players ends its 60th season with Norm Foster’s play The Ladies Foursome
The Ladies Foursome is the final
production of the Scarborough Players’ 60th anniversary season. This is a community theatre, but as I walked to my seat I was surprised to see that the theatre space and set design have a professional gloss (Set Design/ Master Carpenter Greg Nowlan).
The death of a friend is the catalyst for four women to get together on a golf course and talk about life, sex, relationships, hopes and dreams, religion, and more sex over eighteen holes. As Tate (played by Lucy Clarke) says, “we don’t talk about golf out here; we talk about everything but golf.”
Written when he was sixty six years old, to me Norm Foster’s play doesn’t accurately capture the depth and subtleties of female friendships. But he does know how to entertain. The characters feel a little like caricatures as they deliver one liners over and over again but they always get a laugh.
The actors fell into their roles charmingly. Lines are delivered crisply and personably. Each actor fluidly brings an emotion and plot point to the table, giving energy to the production. I was amazed to see that this is Lucy Clarke’s debut performance as an artist. It certainly doesn’t show.
Margot’s story (Meg Gibson) is the most touching. Her estrangement with her daughter and ex-husband is told with bristling defensiveness. Margot remains sad but resolute in all her decisions, which creates a nice character arc at the end of the play.
Director Katherine Turner’s staging is lighthearted and engaging. Everyone involved in the production has plumped up the play and given life to the well-used tropes of death bringing people together, a stranger, and secrets divulged.
I wasn’t struck by the play’s introspection, and I felt the serious moments are its weakest points, but the audience was hugely responsive to the comedy. My guest said the play was modest in its delights but delivered more than it did not.
The acts are quite short, split up by each golf hole, and the players walk off and on stage eighteen times during the course of the play. I found these frequent breaks distracting, and I wish the administrators had waited until the end of the play to announce the night’s raffle winners, instead of at intermission.
The actors help mitigate this distraction by walking off and on stage with the mirth, anger, or grief that sets the tone for the next scene. The golf coach credited (Chris Hardess) has thoroughly prepared the ladies for their afternoon. Their exaggerated golf stances add to the humour of it all.
For me, the play ran on too long. Including intermission, we were there for almost three hours. But the chemistry between the actors and the communal feel of the theatre kept me happily in my seat the whole time.
If you’re looking for a night of easy laughter, and you want to support a longstanding theatre company, The Ladies Foursome is for you.
- The Ladies Foursome is playing until July 13, 3019 at the Scarborough Village Theatre (3600 Kingston Road, Scarborough
- Shows run Thursday to Saturday at 8 pm, with an additional matinee on Sundays at 2 pm, and the closing Saturday show at 2 pm
- Ticket prices are $24, $20 for students and seniors, with group rates at $19
- Tickets are available online, or in person at the box office
- An audience Talk Back follows the July 11th performance
Poster for The Ladies Foursome provided by the company