“The Foreigner” produced by Sound Theatre Company at Center House Theatre

Is there any modern playwright funnier than Larry Shue? Sadly, he died in a plane crash at the age of 39, but if he were alive today, he’d give two thumbs up to Sound Theatre’s production of “The Foreigner.” Director Teresa Thuman has done everything right.

Mark Waldstein as Charlie Baker, the foreigner, first appears on stage in long overcoat and bowler hat looking as if he just stepped out of a Magritte painting. It’s an apt surrealist introduction to his upcoming surreal experience. Poor Charlie, a depressed visitor from England, realizes with horror that his gregarious friend Froggy (Ken Holmes), who brought him to this Georgia fishing lodge, must leave him alone there with its weird people. Charlie can’t abide the thought of having to be social, so Froggy passes him off as a foreigner who doesn’t speak English.

Just imagine the high jinks that follow. Double entendres, pantomimed conversations, overheard secrets, uproarious physical humor, all played out with impeccable timing and accompanied by Waldstein’s rubber-faced expressions. Especially funny are the efforts of endearing but slow-witted Ellard (Daniel A. Guttenberg) to teach Charlie English.

The cast is a well matched ensemble of odd ball characters ranging from the naïve but sweet lodge owner (Jody McCoy) to the duplicitous, fast talking Christian minister (Nick Rempel). Rounding it out are an assortment of unforgettables.

Supporting the splendid acting is the first rate production staff. And within this uproarious play there is a moral, one we do well to notice. Among the characters are two Ku Klux Klan members, spouting their staunch Christian values while planning to defraud the lodge owner and do in the foreigner, and any Jews, Negroes, Catholics or others who displease them. But on this stage, good triumphs over evil.

Through March 25 at Center House Theatre, Seattle Center, (www.brownpapertickets.com, or info at www.soundtheatrecompany.org).

Leave a Reply