Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fore! A sweet spot in Tipping Point's season

After three weeks away from all things theater - retirement makes it quite easy to slip away and do other things, I've discovered - I found myself with a change of plans for last night. Although there were several shows running that I wanted to see - and I had already turned down tickets for one of them when I thought I had other arrangements for the evening - one stood out above the others: "The Foursome" at Tipping Point Theatre.

Why that was is easy to explain:

  1. It's directed by Dave Davies, who in my opinion is one of the finest comedic actors and funniest improvisers working in the industry today (and one of the nicest, too);
  2. It features Patrick O'Connor Cronin, whose work I've been a fan of since his college days (and who's also one heck of a nice guy);
  3. And since Tipping Point is among the handful of theaters in the market that consistently produces work of the highest quality, I knew I'd be in for an enjoyable night at the theater.
And it certainly was!

Jenn McKee's review for pretty much says it all; there's little I could quibble about (except I found playwright Norm Foster's ending more satisfying than she did). So you can read it here for all the details.

Here's what I'll add, though:

What impressed me most about the production was how finely tuned and in-sync the actors were from start to finish; Brandon Grantz, Patrick Loos, Andrew Papa and the aforementioned Cronin were thoroughly believable as college buddies who get together the day after their 15-year reunion to play 18 holes of golf. Each took his character as written by Foster and crafted a unique personality that never wavered. Especially notable were the facial expressions - some of which were almost imperceptible, but were still very revealing - and each man's body language spoke volumes about what each was thinking.

And the well-thought-out bits of business director Davies gave them added much to Foster's words.

In short, because the actors were having so much fun playing off one another, we in the audience were also having fun - and the vocal response from the sold-out crowd proved it.

(As an aside, I was a bit concerned that the last open seat I was given placed me in the front row, where my shiny pate would draw attention to the fact that I was in the house. I've been told numerous times over the years that my presence makes actors nervous, even on those occasions when I'm not there on official critic business - and I've seen it play out onstage over the years with noticeable results. So I generally prefer to sit back a row or two. Yesterday's visit didn't seem to phase them at all!) 

As Jenn points out, all of the technical elements are quite strong. But Monika Essen's set - with video projections that move us from hole to hole - is one of the most original concepts I've seen in ages.

Unfortunately, there are only two performances left. So if you'd like to see this highly entertaining "male tale" (the opposite of a "chick flick," you see) - and if there are tickets still available - click here for details!

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