Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Review: Abrams troupe well-prepared for farce


ABRAMS, Wis. (WFRV) – Groan. Ha. Oh, my goodness. Ha-ha. Owww. Ha-ha-ha. That’s something how the viewing of “The Fox on the Fairway” goes at Abrams Spotlight Productions. Performances of the super-silly farce continue through Aug. 17 at The Byng Community Theatre. Info: www.AbramsTheatre.com.

Playwright Ken Ludwig, creator of hit comedies, outdoes himself in coincidences in this golf-driven show. Sometimes Ken Ludwig is a wit, sometimes he is a twit. One minute, he is cleverly extolling the virtues of golf in religious terms, the next, he is concocting an inane situation stuffed with double-entendre meanings.

Director Brandon Byng’s well-prepared cast rolls along through the topsy-turvy landscape, with Brandon Byng also delivering a key role as a golf nerd.


Creative: Playwright – Ken Ludwig, who also wrote “Lend Me a Tenor,” “Moon Over Buffalo” and “Crazy for You;” director – Brandon Byng; assistant director/lighting technician – Debra Jolly; stage manager/sound technician – Tanya Brehmer; set construction – Bob Anderson; costumes – Debra Jolly.

Cast: Justin – Brandon Byng; Louise – Shado Rose; Bingham – Early Fuller; Pamela – Karen Fuller; Dickie – Bill Koehne; Muriel – Linda Druckrey.


The deal in the plot is the golf nerd, Justin, has coincidently been hired by the boss of Quail Valley Country Club on the day of the big competition, and he becomes a last-minute replacement when a prime Quail Valley member/player has bolted to the competing country club unbeknownst to the Quail Valley boss before he has made a huge bet with the jerky boss of the competitor, a sleep-around guy, who is more than fond of the Quail Valley boss’s wife, whose antique shop the Quail Valley boss has put on the line as part of the bet. (It almost hurts to write this description).

The characters are colorful. Early Fuller plays Bingham, the Quail Valley boss, who fumes when he is not trying to patch a desperate situation. Bill Koehne plays Dickie, the opponent of Bingham and ex-husband of estrogen-laced Pamela, a Quail Valley board member played by Karen Fuller. Dickie’s golf-themed sweaters are outrageously kitsch – one of the fun gimmicks of the show. Pamela earns prizes for – whew – drinking too much, being oversexed and finding double meanings at every opportunity. Brandon Byng plays Justin, who is a golf whiz when he is calm, which he seldom is between the demands of Bingham and the travails of his fiancée, Louise (Shado Rose), who tends to be quaking with problems when she is not grandly spouting lines of ancient Grecian verse. Linda Druckrey plays Bingham’s camo-loving wife, who is supposed to be large and (such is the way of community theater at times) requires the padding of the actor.

This being a farce, there’s a lot of comings and goings through doors – all nicely timed.

Without giving away anything, tech stuff works.

It’s a funky production – 4 stars out of 5, in the realm of community theater.

AHEAD: “Once Upon a Mattress,” Dec. 5-14; “Nunsense,” April 10-19; “The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays,” Aug. 14-23, 2015.

VENUE: The 250-seat Byng Community Theater is located in the former St. Louis Catholic Church. Seating is in padded wooden pews. Roman arched windows from the former church are covered. Wooden walls and the ceiling panels made of compressed cardboard are painted white, with geometric decorations and, on the south wall, a growing display of cast-signed Abrams Spotlight Productions show posters. In the back of the theater is a concession area that serves pop, popcorn, candy and light alcoholic beverages that may be consumed in the theater. Non-flash photography is allowed during performances.

THE PEOPLE: The theater was founded by troupe president Brandon Byng and his great-aunt, Nancy Byng, who died in 2011. Along with coming Abrams Spotlight Productions shows, Brandon Byng was creative director of the spring musical of Green Bay Notre Dame Academy, “Beauty and the Beast,” and directed the July production of Shawano’s Box in the Wood Theatre Guild’s “Seussical The Musical.”

You may email me at warren.gerds@wearegreenbay.com. Watch for my on-air features on WFRV between 6 and 8 a.m. Sundays.

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