Monday, March 17, 2014

The Foreigner Makes a Visit in Everett

(Charlie), Jonathan Crimeni (Rev. David), and Angela DiMarco
 (Catherine).Photos: Mark Kitaoka
The Village Theatre’s comedy farce, The Foreigner, continues its’ run at its’ second location in Everett now until the end of March. If you’ve never seen the Larry Shue comedy, now is time. Then again, even if you have seen the play, it’s definitely worth seeing again. Yes, the story is convoluted, but just go with it. You’ll be much happier if you do.

Englishmen Charlie Baker (Erik Gratton) only wanted to get away for some peace and quiet and his friend Staff Sergeant Froggy LeSueur (Patrick Phillips) knows just the place for the introvert – a small remote fishing lodge in Georgia. The problem is that despite its remoteness, Charlie still has a terrible fear of talking with people. Froggy “fixes” the situation by telling Betty Meeks (Sharva Maynard), the proprietor of the lodge, that Charlie is a foreigner and doesn’t speak or understand a word of English. Everything seems to go according to plan until Charlie discovers a number of secrets of the residents of the lodge as each freely speak around Charlie assuming that he wouldn’t understand them. There is Catherine (Angela DiMarco) who is engaged to the Rev. David Marshall Lee (Jonathan Crimeni) who is not what he seems to be. Catherine’s “slow” brother Ellard (Anthony Lee Phillips) lives there too. He worries his sister as he keeps doing strange things and doesn’t remember doing them. And then, there is Owen (Eric Ray Anderson) who doesn’t live there but acts like he does. He is the unlikely friend of the pastor and appears to be up to something.

Sharva Maynard (Betty) and 
Erik Gratton (Charlie).
The award-winning play is very funny and you won’t find a better set for the play than the one used here. It is incredible and really gives the illusion that you are visiting an actual lodge. Gratton steals the show, as he is supposed to, as Charlie. All the actors do a fine job in their roles, but some of the play’s magic is missing from this particular production. DiMarc’s Catherine never comes across as if she is really in love with David and never really comes across as a man of the cloth. Because of this, some of the play’s surprises don’t come off well. Another drawback is Village’s choice of keeping the play in its’ original timeframe – the early 80’s, even though that is not relevant to the story. The character’s costumes of dated clothing and 80’s music playing before the show and in between scenes, seems out of place and a distraction. The story could easily have been set in 2014. Finally, Phillips has a lot of great lines as Froggy, but his accent is so heavy and hard to understand, that many of his lines fall to the wayside. These are minor infractions and shouldn’t take the joy out of the play for you.

Erik Gratton (Charlie) and Anthony Lee Phillips (Ellard).
The Foreigner continues through March 30th at the Everett Performing Arts Center located at 2710 Wetmore Avenue, Everett, WA 98201. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 425. 257. 8600. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 7:00 p.m. on Sundays. They also featured a matinee on both Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

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