Tarrant Actors Regional Theatre
Directed by Alex Krus
Scene Design – Sydnee Mowery
Lighting Design – Bryan S. Douglas
Costume Design – Hope Cox
Sound Design – Alex Krus
S/Sgt “Froggy” LeSueur – Kit Hussey
Charlie Baker – Allen Walker
Betty Meeks – Cynthia Matthews
Rev. David Marshall Lee – Alex Wade
Catherine Simms – Jessica Taylor
Owen Musser – Dick Zinnendorf
Ellard Simms – Hunter Douglas
Reviewed Performance 1/13/2017
Reviewed by Angela Newby, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
The Foreigner by Larry Shue is a hilarious comedy that tells the story of Charlie Baker, a man who is uncomfortably shy and his adventures in Betty Meeks Fishing Lodge. Charlie’s friend Froggy tries to help him out by explaining that Charlie is a Foreigner who doesn’t speak or understand English, and that one lie allows Charlie to overhear more than most would let on, and that is where the action truly begins!
The Tarrant Actors Regional Theatre (The TART) has done a fantastic job on this production under the direction of Alex Krus. Each and every element from the production team to the cast is superb and the amount of laughter in the audience radiated how much fun the audience was having.
Sydnee Mowery’s sets were beautiful. Each and every detail showed the Meeks fishing lodge in all of its outdated glory. The three main elements were the living room, the dining room, and the stairs leading to the rooms upstairs. Attention to detail was not lost on the old magazines depicting the marriage of Princess Dianna and the birth of their first son. Moreover, the worn couch was even sporting a tear in the cushion that only added to the homey and run-down appearance of the lodge. The antlers and trophy fish on the walls along with sporting equipment gave the set the outdoor feeling that the script portrayed. Mowery’s set enhanced the performances by giving the context a great emotional edge.
Lighting design by Bryan S. Douglas was fantastic. The mood and tone of the play was depicted through Douglas’s lighting design. As Charlie told stories in his “foreign” tongue, the blue hues shows the gentleness, while the red tones only emphasized the anger and evil of those that the story is being directed to. While the play was mainly shown with an even white light, the fading of the dining room while Charlie tells the story, helps depict the timing of the play. Douglas did a great job and execution was perfectly timed.
Hope Cox’s costumes were down to earth and perfectly fitted for each character. S/Sgt. Froggy looked distinguished in his military regalia, while Charlie was dapper in his tan suit. The Reverend looked calm and casual in his jeans and plaid shirts, while Betty was in mom jeans and button down shirts. Ellard in his youthful overalls was perfectly matched by his sister Catherine’s brown pants, and flowing dressy tops to show the differences in their personality styles. The play covers three different days and the costumes changed in each element, but always stayed true to the personality of the characters. Cox did a phenomenal job!
Alex Krus also designed the sound which was realistic and perfectly matched to the script. The rain was not only shown through wet jackets, but the sound of each element was magnified each time the door opened. Execution though at times were off which did lead to a few confusing parts of the script.
Kit Hussey played Staff Sergeant “Froggy” LeSueur, the demolition man of the British army and helping the United States during training near Betty Meeks fishing lodge. Hussey’s use of body language and facial expressions showed the stilted and formal military man amazingly. Froggy’s take charge personality was easily identified through hussy’s use of facial expressions, and direct vocal inflection. Froggy was the perfect companion to Charlie and the two worked beautifully together.
Allen Walker was amazing as Charlie Baker. Walker’s facial expressions perfectly depicted each and every thought and emotion that was going through his characters mind. My favorite part though was his copycat game with Ellard, where Walker matched tone and inflection flawlessly and had the audience laughing like crazy! Walker seamlessly moved about the stage and into each of the sticky situations to bring together the whole production.
Cynthia Matthews played Betty Meeks, the owner of the fishing lodge. Meeks is also the mother influence of the Simms children who have lost their parents. Matthew’s over eagerness to please Froggy was only emphasized through her flirty gazes and enthusiastic tone showed her true joy of having a foreigner in her presence. Matthew’s inflection was perfect as the mother of the group and expressed the tone beautifully throughout the play.
Alex Wade as Rev. David Marshall Lee was the deplorable hypocritical preacher who wasn’t exactly who he seemed to the rest of the world. Wade portrayed this fantastically through his calm mannerism, and when the Reverend was about to be caught, Wade’s frantic gestures and red-face showed his characters true colors.
Jessica Taylor as Catherine Simms was phenomenal. Catherine’s life has been turned upside down through the death of her parents, taking over the care of her brother, and being engaged to the Reverend. Catherine’s anger and bitterness was shown through Taylor’s tone, pursed lips, and frustrated gestures. As Catherine’s character changes, Taylor’s bright eyes, caring gestures, and wide smile, perfectly depicts her characters blossoming into a young woman.
Owen Musser, played by Dick Zinnendorf was masterfully evil. Zinnendorf’s facial expressions, vocal inflections, and squinty eyes played perfectly into this sinister character and at times frightened me. Zinnendorf never once falters from his character, which only adds to his dynamic acting ability.
Hunter Douglas portrayed Ellard Simms, the young man who helps Charlie learn English. Douglas nailed the simple minded young man with his wide smiles, blank stares, and confused looks. Ellard was chastised in one scene, and Douglas’ pouts, head down, and fidgeting with his hands flawlessly depicted his down casted mood. Douglas, at the age of fifteen, showed so much talent in this production that I know that this is just the beginning for what we will see from him.
The TART’s production of The Foreigner is a great night out on the town with friends, family, or your significant other. Come prepared to laugh and be reminded that we are all better when we are surrounded by those that love us.
Tarrant Actors Regional Theater
The Fort Worth Community Arts Center
1300 Gendy St., Fort Worth, TX 76107
Runs through January 29th
Performances are on Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm and Saturday and Sunday Matinees at 2:00pm.
Tickets prices range from $12-15 for adults, $10-12 for Seniors/Students/Military, and $8-10 for children under 12 depending on performance time.
For tickets and information, go to www.thetart.org or call the box office at 682-231-0082.