Langham Court Theatre’s latest outing, The Foreigner, is an entertaining romp with a large dollop of British farce, even though it was written and set in the U.S. The plot is more than a little silly and surreal but Langham’s production, direction, and acting easily carry the weaknesses of plot and plausibility, making this an engaging evening out. Indeed, the production is a perfect example of what an experienced company can make of a rather lack-lustre script.

Not that the story itself is particularly lack-lustre, though it is wildly farcical. The play revolves around an Englishman named Charlie Baker who takes a vacation with his friend Froggy LeSueur in a Georgia fishing lodge. Charlie is debilitatingly shy and so Froggy convinces the owner of the lodge that he is the eponymous foreigner who does not speak a word of English. Froggy then goes off on business, leaving Charlie to various hijinks. Since he is assumed to be unable to understand them, the residents of the lodge and the nearby town begin spilling their secrets to, or within earshot of, the new guest and he quickly finds himself caught in the tangled web Froggy has woven. He discovers who is pregnant, who is being cheated out of an inheritance, and who is a member of the KKK. The plot is actually quite a funny skewering of our odd assumptions and inhibitions.

The story stretches plausibility beyond recognition (especially when the Ku Klux Klan appear at the climax) but that’s forgivable, given that it is a farce. It is the technical aspects where the script falls down. The first act suffers from a plodding plot and poorly introduced exposition. Many of the characters are little more than Southern stereotypes. Many of the scenes seem to be designed more for situational humour than to further the plot. That being said, the script gets better with the second act, once the exposition is dealt with and the plot can really kick into high gear. There are also some particularly wise moments in the play. Charlie does not simply muddle through his situation, he uses it to bring out the best in those around him and, ultimately, to defeat the “bad guys”, which really can’t help but warm your heart.

The real saving of the script is Langham’s excellent production. This begins with Toshik Bukowiecki’s confident direction. Toshik carefully steers the production through the slow patches and brings his experience to bear in crafting a polished and well-defined production. The show is helped by a particularly beautiful set. The lodge’s front room is beautifully realized, giving a much needed touch of reality to the production.

The play also features some particularly fine performances. In particular, Perry Burton puts in a show-stopping turn as Charlie Baker. He brings the character to life, easily explaining the magic influence that “the foreigner” seems to exert over the other guests of the lodge. His physical theatre is hilarious and the jumbled mash of English and mumbo-jumbo that he spouts as the foreigner is perfectly realized. Perry is helped out by a number of great supporting performances. Drew Waveryn’s Froggy is a hilarious portrait of cockney British charm and is much missed after his few appearances. Nick Sepi also stands out as Ellard, a young Forrest Gump style character, with a great touch of realism while still finding the humour, charm, and humanity in the role. Henry Skey transforms frighteningly well from his usual affable self into a tough Southern racist thug and performs the role with a brutal charisma. Sarah Sabo presents a strong and subtle performance of a southern belle who has become sadly cynical.

Overall, if you are looking for an intelligent, hard-hitting comedy/satire, this show is not it. However, if you are wanting an entertaining evening out, full of silly laughs and some remarkably fine performances, then this is the production for you. The Foreigner is light, humourous, and sweet with a triumphant ending and a number of great laughs along the way.

 -Thomas Stuart