The Ladies’ Foursome

‘The Ladies Foursome’ is the 2014 hilarious comedy by Canada’s ‘cool guy’ Norm Foster, the country’s most produced playwright. Norm has had a play in production every year for the past 20 years. ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is a female version of Foster’s 2000 play ‘The Foursome’.

Golf is one of those games that some love, some hate and some simply do not understand. However, this is not a play about golf, rather the events in the lives of girls who play golf together. During the round, the women discuss life, love, men, sex, children, careers … everything but golf. It is like ‘Sex and the City’ … except on a golf course.

This much-loved, quirky two-hour play has been described as ‘a hole-in-one’. It is being presented by Harbour Theatre at Camelot’s indoor theatre, 16 Lochee Street, Mosman Park at the earlier time of 7.30 pm on March 12, 13, 17, 19, 20, 24, 26, 27 with Sunday matinées at 2.00 pm on 14th, 21st and 28th March.

With Covid’s limited seating, booking is essential. Tickets are available from TAZTIX – on 9255-3336

The Scene: An upmarket Canadian golf course. Present day.

The Set: With a turfed stage and no other scenery, I guessed one of Phil Redding’s easiest set builds yet – wrong. The artificial turf was sourced from two outlets, did not match and were cut to the wrong lengths. Then the grass moved as the carts moved over it. With the help of his greenkeepers Brian Mahoney, Matt Cuccovia, Ian Calvert, Shaun Griffin and Jarrod Buttery, Phil became a happy man again.

Screen projector: Impressive course photographs. Projector operated by Callum Hunter.

Lighting design by Rob Tagliaferri was one of his least challenging. Operation by Callum Hunter and Rob.

Sound design and operation, again simple by Vanessa Gudgeon.

Props: Three golf carts were sourced and supplied by the Stage Manager, Shaun Griffin; the fourth was supplied by the cast’s golfing coach and Pro, Grace Hitchin. The ladies’ choice of irons for driving off will bring a smile to the golfers in the audience and a tear to Grace.

Four long-term golfing friends in their early forties, have played 18 holes together every week for 14 years. However, one member of the group, Catherine has just died tragically. The day after Catherine’s funeral, the remaining three friends are back on the green. There is the slightly insecure businesswoman, Margot (Meredith Hunter), the happily married but sexually naïve, Tate (Kirstie Francis) and a famous, charismatic TV Anchor girl, jaunty Connie (Sherryl Spencer) who have gathered for a special round of golf in honour of their recently departed friend.

At the funeral, the three best buddies met Dory (Anna Head), an old friend of Cathy’s whom they had never met – or even heard mention of during decades of golf with Cathy. Dour and enigmatic Dory joins them for today’s memorial round of eighteen holes.

Important Warning: Don’t do as I did and type ‘Ladies Foursome Jarrod Buttery’ into Google. The results that came onto the screen traumatised my eyes and I had to get an oxygen cylinder for my breathing. I think it is known as the Dark Web.

This play has been presented by other theatre groups as a frivolous almost raucous comedy – and failed. Wisely, this director, Jarrod Buttery has selected four actors who have all played and directed serious parts in the past, including Shakespeare and heavy drama. Because of their advanced acting skills, the superbly crafted dialogue came to life. There are many very funny parts, with numerous double-entendres or dry comments that rely on skilled delivery. When I heard that we were to see them play each of the 18 holes, I was a little worried about experiencing several Groundhog Day moments, but each hole was a fresh and new experience with another couple of bits of juicy gossip being revealed.

The ladies play four vastly different richly written characters, that requires a strong chemistry between the golfers as they play off against each other verbally and mentally. The first act is fast moving comedy and the second act is more serious, poignant and deeply emotional. Thankfully, the cast avoided attempting the Canadian accent – it was not missed.

Very well directed and the feel of a set of gelled friendships by a great cast. A fast-moving, fun night at the theatre.