“The Foreigner” As Funny As Ever With New Rep Production

Carol Schultz, Casey Predovic, John Scherer and Winslow Corbett share a break-through moment in "The Foreigner" at the Rep. Photo courtesy of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

Carol Schultz, Casey Predovic, John Scherer and Winslow Corbett share a break-through moment in “The Foreigner” at the Rep. Photo courtesy of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

Larry Shue’s wonderful comedy, “The Foreigner,” makes another appearance at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (last on the Mainstage 26 years ago) and it proves as funny now as it was then. Having become a staple for professional and amateur companies around the world, the basic premise and the successful execution of the script prove the reason for its popularity- it’s laugh-out-loud hysterical.

An uneasy and shy Englishman, Charlie Baker, faces a life crisis- not the least of which is his wife’s infidelity and his ineptness in confronting her or even caring that his marriage is over. So his friend, “Froggy” LeSueur decides to take him on Froggy’s annual trip to Georgia in the US for Army maneuvers and training. Dumping him off at his friend’s fishing lodge, he devises a plan to protect Charlie’s extreme shyness by telling his friend, Betty, that Charlie is a foreigner and doesn’t understand or speak English. Finding this to his liking, Charlie unintentionally overhears a series of

Brent Langdon comforts a shy John Scherer during the Rep's production of "The Foreigner." Photo courtesy of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

Brent Langdon comforts a shy John Scherer during the Rep’s production of “The Foreigner.” Photo courtesy of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

conversations and suddenly loses his inhibitions and “comes out” as a brash foreigner who is “learning” English from a dim-witted hayseed and decides he can make a difference in everyone’s lives. The results are joyful to behold as they unfold in both expected and unexpected fashion.

John Scherer is very unimposing as the play opens but turns in a remarkable performance as the suddenly aggressive Charlie. From his breakfast sequence to his acting out a fairy tale to his remarkable solutions to help this family are wonderous. Brent Langdon’s Froggy is right on the mark as he returns to find his friend transformed into this “hero” speaking broken English. As the lodge owner, Carol Schultz gives a marvelous performance as she takes to Charlie and never questions his unbelievable learning process and transformation.

Casey Predovic is delightful as the dull yet enthusiastic Ellard who “teaches” Charlie the English language in record speed. As the young woman, Winslow Corbett brings the perfect touch of innocence to the role and as her nefarious fiance, Matthew Carlson hides behind his role as a Reverend to carry out his plot to steal the lodge and turn a handsome profit. Finally, as the Reverend’s partner in crime, Jay Smith is great as an oily bigot. The final resolution to this attempted crime is one of the most satisfying and surprising finales to any play

Jay Smith as Owen Musser devises the "perfect" plan with Matthew Carlson as the Reverend David Marshall Lee in the Rep's production of "The Foreigner." Photo courtesy of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

Jay Smith as Owen Musser devises the “perfect” plan with Matthew Carlson as the Reverend David Marshall Lee in the Rep’s production of “The Foreigner.” Photo courtesy of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

you’re likely to see.

Rep veteran director, Edward Stern, has brought a quality product to the stage. His eye for detail and nuance is incredible. Add the fabulous John Ezell set, Peter E. Sargent’s always impeccable lighting design and the marvelous costumes of Dorothy Marshall Englis, and you’ve got a total production that easily satisfies. I can’t remember so much laughter at an opening night at the Rep in a long time. That’s just the kind of play “The Foreigner” is and when you add the quality production values of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, you’ve got a sure-fire winner.

Be sure your holiday plans include a trip to the Rep for Larry Shue’s “The Foreigner.” Contact them at 314-968-4925 or at http://www.repstl.org for tickets or more information.

 

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