“The Foreigner” reviews

Hi again! Here’s a spot for your 2-minute radio review of The Foreigner. Remember, these are much shorter and meant to be read aloud in 2 minutes. See you all at the performance tonight at eight!- Scott

18 Comments on ““The Foreigner” reviews

  1. Do you hate comedy? Do you find “funny” to be overrated? Do you despise cheerful enjoyment? Does laughter cause you nothing but pain and misery? If you answered yes to any of these questions; avoid The Foreigner at all costs. This play is dangerously funny, and heartbreakingly heartwarming.
    The play is centered around a spectacularly dull English chap named Charlie Baker staying in an old-fashioned lodge in Georgia. Due to a crippling fear of social interactions, his friend Froggy has told the inhabitants of the lodge that Charlie is a foreigner, and does not understand any english. This attempt to give Charlie some personal space backfires, and he finds himself at the center of every conflict going on within the lodge. In keeping up the charade; Charlie ends up creating his own traditions, culture, epic adventure, and language all off the top of his head. Enormous praise goes to Mr. Michael Fales, who brilliantly employs both physical comedy and top-notch acting into the wonderful creation that is Charlie Baker.
    You will laugh hard and often at this play. The material is so sharp and creative that your face will hurt from laughing so much, yet you will find yourself cutting off your own laughter so as not to miss the next line. Each character is their own kind of sweet and lovable, with the obvious exception of the Klu Klux Klan members. “Froggy” LeSeur isn’t seen for most of the play, but is instantly likable and can steal the scene just by walking on stage; every word that comes out of his mouth is comedy gold. Betty Meeks is an adorable old lady who breaks the language barrier with Charlie by speaking very loudly at him. Catherine and Ellard Simms are a well-off brother and sister who learn to better themselves from their interactions with Charlie. Finally, Reverend David Lee and Owen Musser are redneck trash, but one comes with a pretty wrapper.
    If at any given moment you are not laughing yourself into a fit, please check your pulse, because you may have dropped dead.

  2. A Foreign Pinocchio- First Draft
    By Samantha Norton
    It started out with one lie, then another, and then another—and with each fib, Pinocchio’s nose grew and grew. While Charlie Baker’s nose didn’t grow like Pinocchio’s did, that didn’t mean his lies didn’t snowball out of control.
    For some the art of deception is foreign—but when you’re in the same vicinity as a Sergeant, a Klan member, a senior citizen, and even a “foreigner”—deception may be your only key to getting away without telling the truth.
    Larry Shue’s The Foreigner, which was performed at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival at the Cape Cod Community College, begins with a single white lie.
    Staff Sergeant “Froggy” LeSuer, played by Jack Weppler, forces his friend, Charlie Baker to live a lie by pretending that he is a foreigner and cannot speak a single word of English. Charlie, played by Michael Fales, not only convinces those around him of his lie, but he starts believing this lie is responsible for giving him the personality he sought desperately.
    But with every lie, there are consequences. As Charlie finds himself buried deeper and deeper into the lie, it not only puts him that much farther away from the truth, but those around him begin to question his authenticity. While Charlie has senior citizen Betty Meeks (Alexandra Schmitt,) and brother and sister Catherine (Nicole Tilford) and Ellard Simms (James O’Connor), convinced of his unique heritage, others are not as easily persuaded.
    Characters David Lee (Bryan Nee) and Owen Musser (James Dalton) see the flaws in Charlie’s act and they make it their mission to catch him in his web of lies—but Charlie is always one step ahead.
    At first, Charlie’s impression of a foreigner was entertaining—the way he would react to Betty screaming in his ear in hopes he’d understand if she talked a little louder, and even mimicking Ellard’s movements. But even though Charlie is humorous as a living Pinocchio, the comedy is repetitive throughout the play—his imaginary language and his make believe adventures and memories become tiresome at times. Then again his nose can only grow so far.
    Like Pinocchio, Charlie told a lie to find what he desired most—himself. But when do the lies stop?

  3. The Foreigner: a wild comedy with laughs and energy to spare
    By James Barcomb
    A two-and-a-half-hour whirlwind saga chock full of combat, cunning, wit, and quotable dialogue: it’s a description that could apply to fantastical works like Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings, but here refers to The Foreigner, a comedy presented by Suffolk County Community College at the 2013 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.
    Written by the late Larry Shue, The Foreigner throws Charlie Baker, an insecure Englishman, into a Georgian fishing lodge, where trouble is brewing for its inhabitants. Betty Meeks, the aging owner of the lodge, may be forced to turn it over to property inspector and local redneck Owen Musser. Elsewhere, the Forrest Gump-like Ellard Simms will receive half of his family’s money if he is deemed intelligent enough while a devious plot seeks to prevent this.
    To make matters worse, Charlie is plunged into a situation in which he is forced to play the part of a non-English speaking foreigner. As the play progresses, the inhabitants begin to care for this mysterious figure, especially Ellard, with whom Charlie forms a special, if unusual bond. But it’s only a matter of time before they must contend with Owen and his particular band of brothers.
    As much of the play focuses on Charlie’s (that is, foreigner Charlie’s) relationships with the characters that surround him, there are plenty of dramatic moments, whether heartfelt or manipulative (when Catherine, Ellard’s sister, is not baring her soul to Charlie, Ellard is uttering a line designed to make the audience respond with a loud “awww”).
    However, The Foreigner is first and foremost a raucous comedy that has laughs and energy to spare. The actors constantly enter and exit through various doors and trapdoors, and hit their comic beats with precise timing. Michael Fales shines brightest in his turn as Charlie, delivering one-liners and visual gags in near-perfect fashion, all while undergoing a subtle transformation. The production, staged in Cape Cod Community College, is enhanced even further by Lachlin Loud’s outstanding scenic design (the walls of the lodge are adorned with fish of all shapes and sizes) and Jason Kankel’s clever light design (most notably the shifting of a light to indicate a car pulling in). When all is said and done, Suffolk County Community College has brought about a thrilling production that can be summed up in a single line from the script: “Remarkable!”

  4. First draft 200 word review

    Does too much of a good thing exist in comedy? When do you know if it’s too much? If you asked the likes of comedy legends Chris Farley and Sam Kinison…well….you wouldn’t get an answer because they’re dead. They never knew when to call it quits and they died because of it. So for right now, I’m your best shot.

    This is a debate that invaded my psyche after watching the Suffolk County Community College’s production of John Shue’s the Foreigner. Set in Tighman County, Georgia, the awkward Englishman Charlie Baker and English army Sergeant “Froggy” LeSueur arrive at the Fishing Lodge Resort run by an adorable elderly women, Betty Meeks. When LeSueur’s misguided attempt to help his tongue-tied friend backfires and Meeks’s is led to believe Baker is an exotic foreigner, this play really begins. With his cemented status as a fly on the wall, soon lodge resident Catherine Simms is confiding her personal issues with our perpetual yes-man, mostly regarding her her empty relationship with Preacher David Marshal Lee (yes, relation). The first breakfast with the simple Ellard Simms turns into a twenty-minute improve comedy show that peaks with the duo wielding their knives like light-sabers.

    Michael Fales’ physical comedy as Baker in this production is marvelous, but the shear amount of it seems indulgent. The same jokes are repeated, seemingly for no other reason than they were four for four and hit for the cycle. At close to three hours, the overuse of this humor takes away from its inherent strength, the novelty. This is not to take away from the SCCC production, which included a topical set design, involved special effect and sound as well as a talented cast. Undoubtedly, this show was proof it isn’t about the name on the company but the ones that are inside it. Just remember for next time, you had us; there’s no need to be so insecure. We all laughed. You know what, we still would.

  5. Charlie’s Personality
    The Foreigner
    Maria Dominguez

    It all begins when Charlie Baker asks “How does one find a personality?” This production was born in Suffolk Community College and then brought to the Kennedy Theatre American College Theatre Festival. The Foreigner has all of the ingredients needed for a fantastic play. The acting is spot-on the staging is fantastic, the costumes attractive, the music and sound effects relevant, the lighting effects additive, the set detailed and thoroughly utilized with actors entering from upstairs, outside the front door and the kitchen; you never know where characters will enter a scene from. The play will keep you engaged and laughing at both the situations and the characters. From Charlie’s silly made up language, to him mirroring Ellard at the breakfast table, it will have you laughing until it gets serious and even then keep you laughing throughout the end.
    While The Foreigner is not new to the stage and was premiered in Milwaukee in 1984 I would argue that there is still a place for this gem on stage. Charlie says it best in the second act “We’re making each other complete and alive”. The foreigner finds a way into the heart of nearly everyone from becoming Betty’s companion, Catherine’s therapist and Ellard’s student. Through his lies he finds the personality he sought for in the beginning. Unfortunately for Charlie he also manages to find himself entangled with the Klan however you will have to see for yourself how that comes about.
    The only confusing part of the production is that it is described as taking place in the recent past, and yet there are references in the script to Princess Diana giving birth to a boy, while there are blue plastic solo cups on the table and the Klan traditionally dressed all in white while trying to takeover Tilghman Georgia. There were also some minor faults such as a confusing accent, art falling off the wall, and somebody slamming a door backstage. Bearing all this in mind, the show was truly fantastic with the actors perfecting that line between character and stereotype. It was the Playwright Larry Shue’s dream to ultimately have “the wishy-washy nice guy emerge triumphant”. This is what made it possibly to ultimately transform the shy, socially afraid Charlie into a confident, thoughtful, trusted, truly loved character that just happens to save the day and end up happy.

  6. There are plays that succeed due to an original concept, or a couple of talented leads, or by paying certain un-named critics a small fee. Then there are plays that succeed because they are just damn good. The Foreigner, performed at KCACTF on January 31st 2013 by The Suffolk Spotlight, is one of those shows. The story is that of one Charlie Baker, an Englishmen who adopts the guise of a foreigner in a Georgian home after a series of misunderstandings. What follows is a tale of growth and discovery that could melt even the stoniest of hearts.
    The play was absolutely hysterical, moving from punch line to punch line with breath taking ease, with jokes coming in from all sides. The show is brilliantly paced and uses every little detail to its advantage. For example, the KKK, which are featured as some of the principle antagonists, are built up as terrifying and imposing figures fairly early on and the feeling of dread that hangs in the air is thick enough to carve through with a bayonet. But when they finally do appear on stage and everyone can see them for what they really are, a bunch of drunken lunatics with more shotguns than brain cells, the results are criminally entertaining. It is smartly assembled, with lines and elements briefly mentioned in the first act all coming back by the end to deliver some delightful payoffs for the careful audience member. Even the technical difficulties found a way to become entertaining, most notably the spoon “portrait” coming loose halfway through Act 1. Wrapping up the package is a very solid set and absolutely fantastic lighting design, giving it exactly the sort of southern “color” it requires. On the whole it was a fantastic show that could be viewed again and again and have it be funnier every time. Klattu barrata nikto!

  7. Dan Tomasik
    ReWrite
    The Foreigner
    Do you hate comedy? Do you find “funny” to be overrated? Do you despise cheerful enjoyment? Does laughter cause you nothing but pain and misery? If you answered yes to any of these questions; avoid The Foreigner at all costs. This play is dangerously funny, and heartbreakingly heartwarming.
    The play is centered around a spectacularly dull English chap named Charlie Baker staying in an old-fashioned lodge in Georgia. Due to his crippling fear of social interaction, his friend Froggy has told the inhabitants of the lodge that Charlie is a foreigner, and does not understand any English. This attempt to give Charlie some personal space backfires, and he finds himself a participant in every personal crisis within the lodge. In keeping up the charade; Charlie ends up creating his own traditions, culture, epic adventure, and language all off the top of his head. *Sound Clip of Charlie’s “Language”* Enormous praise goes to Mr. Michael Fales, who brilliantly employs both physical comedy and top-notch acting into the wonderful creation that is Charlie Baker.
    You will laugh hard and often at this play. The material is so sharp and creative that your face will hurt from laughing so much, yet you will find yourself cutting off your own laughter so as not to miss the next line. Each character is their own flavor of sweet and lovable, with the obvious exception of the Klu Klux Klan members. Mr. Jack Weppler’s “Froggy” LeSeur isn’t seen for most of the play, but is instantly likable and can steal the scene just by walking on stage; even when he isn’t carrying explosives. Ms. Alexandra Schmitt’s Betty Meeks is an adorable old lady who breaks the language barrier with Charlie by speaking very loudly at him. Ms. Nicole Tifford and Mr. James O’Connor are Catherine and Ellard Simms, respectively; a well-off sister and brother who re-discover themselves through their interactions with Charlie. Finally, Mr. Bryan Nee and James Dalton are Reverend David Lee and Owen Musser, two pieces of conniving redneck trash.
    This production by Suffolk County Community College stands shoulder-to-shoulder with any professional show. If at any given moment you are not laughing yourself into a fit, please check your pulse, because you may have dropped dead.
    This has been Dan Tomasik, reviewing The Foreigner for Obligatory Radio Station.

  8. rewrite

    Does too much of a good thing exist in comedy? When do you know if it’s too much? If you asked the likes of comedy legends Chris Farley and Sam Kinison… well….you wouldn’t get an answer for obvious reasons. They never had one and they passed away because of it.
    This debate is renewed with the Suffolk County Community College’s production of Larry Shue’s the Foreigner. Set in Tighman County, Georgia, the awkward Englishman Charlie Baker and English army Sergeant “Froggy” LeSueur arrive at the Fishing Lodge Resort run by an adorable elderly woman, Betty Meeks. When LeSueur’s misguided attempt to help his tongue-tied friend backfires and Meeks’s is led to believe Baker is an exotic foreigner, the hilarity ensues.
    Hesitant at first, Baker soon blossoms in this outsider role, quickly befriending the unhappy Southern belle Catherine Belle and her simply brother Ellard Simms, with whom Baker establishes the timeless misfit friendship. At their first breakfast together, the two engage in a twenty-minute improv comedy show complete with call-and-response actions, solo cups as grenades and the two using their knives like light-sabers.
    Michael Fales’ physical comedy as Baker in this production is marvelous, but the shear amount of it seemed indulgent. His silly movements, gestures, and adlibbed gibberish, though wonderfully executed, were perpetuated for no other reason than they couldn’t miss. At close to three hours, the overuse of this humor took away from its fundamental strength, the novelty. This is not to take away from the SCCC production, which included a period appropriate set design, involved special effects and sound as well as a talented cast. Undoubtedly, this show was proof it isn’t about the name on the company, instead, the ones that are inside it. Just remember for next time SCCC, you had us; there’s no need to be so insecure. We all laughed. You know what, we all still would.

  9. A Foreign Pinocchio- Rewrite
    By Samantha Norton
    It started out with one lie, then another, and then another—and with each fib, Pinocchio’s nose grew and grew. While Charlie Baker’s nose didn’t grow like Pinocchio’s did, that didn’t mean his lies didn’t snowball out of control.
    For some the art of deception is foreign—but when you’re in the same vicinity as a demolition expert, a Klan member, an elderly woman, and even a “foreigner”—deception may be your only key to getting away without telling the truth.
    Larry Shue’s The Foreigner, which was performed at the Cape Cod Community College, begins with a single white lie. For the characters of The Foreigner, lying is the easiest way to get what they desire most.
    Staff Sergeant “Froggy” LeSuer, played by Jack Weppler, forces his friend, Charlie Baker to live a lie by having Charlie pretend that he is a foreigner and cannot speak a single word of English. Charlie, played by Michael Fales, not only convinces those around him of his lie, but he starts believing this lie is responsible for giving him the personality he is desperately seeking.
    But with every lie, there are consequences. As Charlie finds himself buried deeper and deeper in the lie, it not only puts him that much further away from the truth, but those around him begin to question his authenticity. While Charlie has Betty Meeks, and brother and sister Catherine and Ellard Simms, convinced of his unique heritage, others are not as easily persuaded.
    Characters David Lee and Owen Musser see the flaws in Charlie’s act and they make it their mission to catch him in his web of lies—but Charlie is always one step ahead.
    At first, Charlie’s impression of a foreigner was entertaining—the way he would react to Betty screaming in his ear in hopes he’d understand if she talked a little louder, and even mimicking Ellard’s movements. But even though Charlie is humorous as a living Pinocchio, the comedy often becomes repetitive throughout the play—his imaginary language and his make believe adventures and memories become tiresome at times. While the humor is at a constant progression throughout the play, the characters and the plot itself do not develop. Rather, Charlie is still living the same lie as the beginning of the play and the ending leaves you wondering how long will he be able to continue to keep up this act of deception. Charlie’s nose can only grow so far.
    Like Pinocchio, Charlie told a lie to find what he desired most—himself. But when do the lies stop?

  10. Rewrite

    There are plays that succeed due to an original concept, or a couple of talented leads, or by paying certain un-named critics a small fee. Then there are plays that succeed because they are just damn good on every conceivable level. The Foreigner, performed at KCACTF on January 31st 2013 by Suffolk County Community College, is one of those shows. The story is that of one Charlie Baker, an Englishmen who adopts the guise of a foreigner in a Georgian home after a series of misunderstandings. What follows is a tale of growth and discovery that could melt even the stoniest of hearts.
    The play was absolutely hysterical, moving from punch line to punch line with breath taking ease, with jokes flying in from all sides. The show is brilliantly paced and uses every little detail to its advantage. For example, the Ku Klux Klan, which are featured as some of the principal antagonists, are built up as terrifying and imposing figures fairly early on and a feeling of dread permeates every scene where they are mentioned. But when they finally do appear on stage and everyone can see them for what they really are, a bunch of drunken lunatics with more shotguns than brain cells, the results are criminally entertaining. It is smartly assembled, with every line and element mentioned in the first act all coming back by the end to deliver some delightful payoffs for the attentive audience member. Wrapping up the package is a very solid set and absolutely fantastic lighting design, giving it exactly the sort of southern “color” it requires. On the whole it was an incredible show that could be viewed again and again and have it be funnier every time.

  11. Re-write
    The Foreigner: a wild comedy with laughs and energy to spare
    By James Barcomb
    A two-and-a-half-hour whirlwind adventure chock full of combat, cunning, wit, and quotable dialogue: it’s a description that could apply to an epic saga like The Lord of the Rings, but here it refers to, of all things, The Foreigner, a farcical comedy set in a Georgian fishing lodge.
    Written by the late Larry Shue and presented by Suffolk County Community College at the 2013 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, The Foreigner throws Charlie Baker, an insecure Englishman, into a fishing lodge, where trouble is brewing for its inhabitants. Betty Meeks, the aging owner of the lodge, may be forced to turn it over to property inspector and local redneck Owen Musser. Elsewhere, the Forrest Gump-like Ellard Simms will receive half of his family’s money if he is deemed intelligent enough while a devious plot seeks to prevent this.
    To make matters worse, Charlie is plunged into a situation in which he is forced to play the part of a non-English speaking foreigner. As the play progresses, the inhabitants begin to care for this mysterious figure, especially Ellard, with whom Charlie forms a special, if unusual bond. But it’s only a matter of time before they must contend with Owen and his particular band of “brothers.”
    As much of the play focuses on Charlie’s (that is, foreigner Charlie’s) relationships with the characters that surround him, there are plenty of heartfelt dramatic moments (Catherine, Ellard’s sister, bares her soul to Charlie), although some of them (Ellard’s earnest efforts to help Charlie read, for example) come off as a tad manipulative, a way for the production to tug at the audience’s heartstrings. Thankfully, these are only minor speed bumps in an otherwise magnificent ride.
    The Foreigner is first and foremost a raucous comedy that has laughs and energy to spare. The actors constantly enter and exit through various doors and trapdoors, and hit their comic beats with precise timing. Michael Fales shines brightest in his turn as Charlie, delivering one-liners and visual gags in near-perfect fashion, all while undergoing a subtle transformation. The production, staged at Cape Cod Community College, is enhanced even further by Lachlin Loud’s outstanding scenic design (the walls of the lodge are adorned with fish of all shapes and sizes) and Jason Kankel’s clever light design (most notably the shifting of a light to indicate a car pulling in). When all is said and done, Suffolk County Community College has brought about a thrilling production that can be summed up in a single line from the script: “Remarkable!”

  12. Rewrite of Charlie’s Personality
    The Foreigner
    Maria Dominguez

    It all begins when Charlie Baker asks “How does one find a personality?” This production was born at Suffolk Community College and then brought to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The Foreigner has all of the ingredients needed for a fantastic play. The acting is spot-on, the staging is fantastic, the costumes attractive, and the music and sound effects were relevant. The set was detailed and thoroughly utilized with actors entering from upstairs, outside the front door and the kitchen; you never know from where characters will enter a scene. The lighting truly added final touches to the set such as having lightning strikes and car lights showing through the windows. This play will keep you engaged and laughing at both the situations and the characters. From Charlie’s silly made-up language, to a funnny mirroring of Ellard at the breakfast table, it will have you laughing until it gets serious and even that won’t keep you from laughing until the end.
    While The Foreigner is not new to the stage and was premiered in Milwaukee in 1984, this production proves that there is still a place for this gem on stage. Charlie says it best in the second act “We’re making each other complete and alive”. The foreigner finds a way into the heart of nearly everyone while becoming Betty’s companion, Catherine’s therapist and Ellard’s student. Through his lies, he finds the personality he so desperately sought in the beginning. Unfortunately for Charlie he also manages to find himself entangled with the Klan. However you will have to see for yourself how he manages to get himself out of that situation.
    The only confusing part of the production is that it is described as taking place in the recent past, and yet there are references in the script to Princess Diana giving birth to a boy, while there are blue Solo cups on the table. There were also some minor faults such as Froggy’s accent sounding confusing, art falling off the wall, and accidental noises from backstage. Bearing all this in mind, the show was truly fantastic with the actors perfecting the line between character and stereotype. Throughout this play we ultimately see the shy, socially afraid Charlie transform into a confident, thoughtful, trusted, truly loved character that just happens to save the day and end up happy. It was the Playwright Larry Shue’s dream to ultimately have “the wishy-washy nice guy emerge triumphant” and he was quite successful at just that.

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