You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fox on the Fairway

A manic race to the intellectual depths propelled by a nonsensical tale of greed, love and stupidity.

Louise - Meg Steedle Justin - Aubrey Deeker Bingham - Jeff McCarthy Dickie - Andrew Long Pamela - Holly Twyford Muriel - Valerie Leonard

It is a curious phenomenon that the plays of Ken Ludwig (“Moon Over Buffalo,” “Lend Me a Tenor”) are consistently admired more by audiences than critics, including this one. So what’s to be said of “Fox on the Fairway,” a sorry collection of ancient golf jokes, cartoonish characters and impossibly contrived mayhem? Just that it would seem to contain the necessary ingredients for yet another Ludwig success.

The setting for this farce, debuting at Arlington’s Signature Theater, is the leafy confines of Quail Valley Country Club on the day of its annual match with the team from Crouching Squirrel. But this is no tender-hearted spoof of golf’s upper crust a la P.G. Wodehouse. It is, sadly, a manic race to the intellectual depths propelled by a nonsensical tale of greed, love and stupidity. Director John Rando shoots for maximum buffoonery here, assisted by an able assemblage of performers clearly eager to unleash their comedic chops. They include Jeff McCarthy and Andrew Long as rival screwballs in charge of the tournament but more consumed with a spirited wager; Aubrey Deeker and Meg Steedle as a pair of impetuous lovebirds who fuel the plot; and Holly Twyford as McCarthy’s amorous and tipsy colleague. For the most part, the requisite exuberance and comedic timing are displayed by all.

Again, the formula employed by Washingtonian Ludwig is to create characters as annoying as possible (most notably here in the case of Steedle’s loony nymph) and sprinkle liberally with cheap gags. Mission accomplished, presumably to the delight of some — but surely not all — devotees of artful comedy.

Popular on Variety

Fox on the Fairway

Signature Max Theater; Arlington, Va.; 280 seats; $76 top

Production: A Signature Theater presentation of a play in two acts by Ken Ludwig. Directed by John Rando.

Creative: Sets, James Kronzer; costumes, Kathleen Geldard; lighting, Colin K. Bills; sound, Matt Rowe. Opened, reviewed Oct. 24, 2010. Runs through Nov. 14. Running time: 2 HOURS.

Cast: Louise - Meg Steedle Justin - Aubrey Deeker Bingham - Jeff McCarthy Dickie - Andrew Long Pamela - Holly Twyford Muriel - Valerie Leonard

More Legit

  • The Sound Inside review

    Broadway Review: 'The Sound Inside' Starring Mary-Louise Parker

    Mary-Louise Parker will take your breath away with her deeply felt and sensitively drawn portrait of a tenured Yale professor who treasures great literature, but has made no room in her life for someone to share that love with. The other thesp in this two-hander is Will Hochman, endearing in the supportive role of a [...]

  • Little Shop of Horrors review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Little Shop of Horrors'

    With its strains of kitschy doo-wop and its sci-fi B-movie inspirations, the quaint 1982 musical “Little Shop of Horrors” hardly seems a thing of modern-day revivalism, even despite its touches of S&M. Yet this year alone, not only is there an Off Broadway production of the blackly comic “Little Shop” featuring Jonathan Groff of Netflix’s [...]

  • The Lightning Thief review musical

    Broadway Review: 'The Lightning Thief,' The Musical

    “It’s a lot to take in right now,” says Percy Jackson, the teen hero of “The Lightning Thief,” the kid-centric fantasy musical (based on the popular Y.A. novel) that’s now on Broadway after touring the country and playing an Off Broadway run. You could say that’s a bit of an understatement from contemporary teen Percy [...]

  • The Rose Tattoo review

    Broadway Review: 'The Rose Tattoo' Starring Marisa Tomei

    “The Rose Tattoo” is what happens when a poet writes a comedy — something strange, but kind of lovely. The same might be said of director Trip Cullman’s production: Strange, if not exactly lovely. Even Marisa Tomei, so physically delicate and expressively refined, seems an odd choice to play the lusty and passionate protagonist, Serafina [...]

  • Obit-Roy-B

    Former NATO President Roy B. White Dies at 93

    Roy B. White, former president and chairman of the National Association of Theater Owners, died of natural causes Oct. 11 in Naples, Fla. He was 93. White ran the 100-screen independent theater circuit, Mid–States Theaters Inc. In addition to his career, he did extensive work on behalf of charities and non-profits. He was vice president [...]

  • Soft Power review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Soft Power'

    The “culture-clash musical” is a familiar template, in which a white American protagonist — waving the flag of individuality, optimism and freedom — trumps and tramps over the complexities of that which is foreign, challenging or “other.” David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s “Soft Power,” the new “play with a musical” at Off Broadway’s Public [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content