Swing into comedy with Foursome at UCP


 Spring is coming, and so are the laughs at Upper Canada Playhouse.

It’s only two weeks to the start of the new season at the Playhouse. A rip-roaring and hilarious production of Norm Foster’s The Foursome will kick off 2012, with a special two week run, March 16 to April 1. 

“We wanted to introduce a new spring time slot into our season,” said artistic director, Donnie Bowes, at a recent press conference. “People have been asking us to run a spring show, and we thought why not a familiar, funny and popular play like The Foursome? We’re starting right now to get out our brochures and publicity, especially as this initial production will only have a two week run, rather than the four week runs in the main season: there are still some good seats available.

And this play is such a fun time for the audience and the actors too. People will really enjoy seeing it.”

It was evident at the press conference, from the closeness of the cast, that The Foursome is going to be a show no one will want to miss.

Jesse Collins, who is directing this production, is a veteran actor and director. He has worked extensively on television (he starred in Katts n Dog), on stage and on screen, and appeared at Upper Canada Playhouse in The Affections of May.

It’s going to be great doing double duty as the character Ted and as the director. Our initial read through of the play was wonderful,” Collins said. “The camaraderie and relationships between the four guys are crucial. This play is an ensemble piece where everyone is out there the whole time. There are terrific one liners and rich comedy in Norm’s show. That makes it even better to have such experienced and collaborative actors to work with.”

Richard Bauer, who plays Rick (“slightly obnoxious with a lot of bravado”) has acted in The Foursome before. (“He’s taken the same role again so he doesn’t have to learn any new lines,” Collins chimed in to laughter from the cast) “This is a wonderful show, a real treat,” Bauer said.

Brian Young, as Cameron, the “cheerleader” of the group, admits that he loves the show and  “playing non stop golf. I’ve always wanted to do The Foursome.”

Sweeney MacArthur, who plays Donnie, the only character in the group who has no idea how to golf, describes him, with a grin, as the “doofus.” “But it’s great to work with friends in a show about friends.”

The Foursome is about so much more than just golf,” Donnie Bowes said. “It carries so much of the trademark Foster hilarity that appeals to both men and women, whether they play golf or not. Actually there isn’t much in life that Norm loves more than golf. He wrote the script in six weeks, following a round with three old friends. I actually like to think that Norm may have named his character Donnie after me,” he added.

“Yup,” said MacArthur, to cast laughter, “the one who absolutely can’t play golf.”

The cast has been rehearsing the show on a striking set especially designed by Playhouse technical director, Sean Free. 

“We wanted a golf course on the set, and we wanted it to mimic a real course,” Free explained.

By actually removing parts of the existing stage to open up the space, Free has been able to skillfully “suggest literal items on a golf course,” director Collins said. “He has been able to create  levels, depth and a versatile, workable and practical set for the actors.”

And by using a black scrim as part of the set design, Free will be able to bounce light, creating sun movements and sky effects throughout the play. “It allows me to create the passage of time. It should make the entire golf game very interesting for the audience.”

With its strong cast and direction, performed on a breath-taking set, brimming with the  memorable characterizations and non-stop laughter so typical of Norm Foster, The Foursome is the ideal way to start the new season at Upper Canada Playhouse.

For tickets and information, contact 613-543-3713

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