The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival continues its 24th season with a hilarious comedy.
Playing on the main stage through August 2, theatre goers will find Larrry Shue's The Foreigner. Audience members are in for a treat, as this play offers grand gestures of physical comedy.
In the show, Sgt. Froggy , played by Carl N. Wallnau, revisits a favorite vacation spot in Georgia. Welcome to Betty Meeks' Fishing Lodge Resort. In the heart of a thunderstorm, Froggy arrives with Charlie Baker, played by PSF veteran Jacob Dresch, in tow.
Froggy explains to Charlie the experiences of his past vacations at the fishing lodge, noting how kind and personable the owner, Betty, is. Charlie panics at the idea of having to create ongoing conversation with a stranger, and Froggy is left to think up a solution to the problem.
His bright idea? Pretend Charlie doesn't speak any English. Charlie becomes 'the foreigner' that Betty Meeks (played by Jane Ridley) has always dreamed of encountering.
Through a series of dramatic moments, Charlie realizes that playing along in this scheme is the only way to make it through the days spent at the fishing lodge. His encounters with other guests in the house take a number of twists and turns, as he learns secrets that are meant to be kept quiet.
The actors provide a splendid performance, with laughs all throughout the way.
One of my favorite moments of the show was a special touch for anyone who might have seen the production of Les Miserables earlier in the PSF season. As Charlie struggles to remember the phone number he is trying to dial, he notes the numbers as he punches them into the phone, "Two, Four, Six..... Oh! One!" (For those of you that might be a bit lost, 24601 is the number assigned to Jean Val Jean when he is a prisoner in Les Mis.)
I think that's one that that the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival succeeds in year after year. If you are a loyal patron and can manage to attend a few shows, there's always a thin line woven between the productions, nodding to other highlights throughout the season. Consider it an added bonus for the avid theatre goer!
Jim Helsinger's direction of the play is spot on as each character hits the timing of the punchlines perfectly. The stunning set design by Bob Phillips will leave you feeling as though you have just spent the weekend inside Betty Meeks' infamous Fishing Lodge.
The Foreigner is being performed in repertory with Henry V. That means that you'll catch the same cast performing both shows, sometimes in the same day.
Don't miss this gem in the PSF lineup.
If you're traveling to the area for a show, be sure to take advantage of one of the travel packages available. Each packages features overnight accommodations as well as discounted tickets to a performance at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.