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Covedale Hits the Sweet-spot with “Fox on the Fairway”

David Roth and Allen Middleton in "Fox on the Fairway"

David Roth and Allen Middleton in “Fox on the Fairway”

Review by Shaun Maus of Fox on the Fairway: Covedale

The Covedale Center for the Performing Arts production of Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway is a madcap comedy with polished performances.   The Fox on the Fairway takes place during the annual Quail Valley Country Club golf tournament. The club’s director, Mr. Bingham (a charming and witty David Roth) is hoping to win this year with the help of a “new” player, his dimwitted assistant Justin Michael (Samuel Donohoe) who happens to be an ace –when he isn’t upset by something.

Stealing the show as the Crouching Squirrel’s director, Dickie, is Allen R. Middleton. He’s smug, swaggering in every possible golf sweater imaginable (and then some) and silly all at once. Middleton tees up some of the great comic mannerisms of Charles Nelson Riley and Paul Lynde while looking as tan as George Hamilton.

Michael Samuel Donohoe is tall and lanky, adept at the physical comedy needed to keep Justin just shy of goofy. He plays him endearingly innocent with a vaudevillian dexterity. Traci Taylor as Pamela Peabody, the sex-staved ex-wife of Dickie, is energetic, funny, sultry, funny, polished…did I say, funny? “Golf and sex are the only things you can enjoy without being good at them,” she tells the audience.

The set design is, in golf terms, a duff. The club lacks a detailed, lush country club setting. The set design had the feel of a high school show, making the club something where the Beverly Hillbillies might be members. The sound design, always a shortcoming of the Covedale, could have used a caddy to help cue the sound operator for every time Justin’s wide-eyed girlfriend was going to scream so the bullhorn speakers in the ceiling didn’t rattle like a boombox car driving down Glenway Avenue.

The show has a strong energy and solid momentum with what one expects of a good farce: a chase scene, exaggerated situations, physical humor and a lot of broadly stylized performances. There are no shanks, just plenty of laughs. Pay your green fees at the box office.