The Ladies Foursome
Mayfield Dinner Theatre
DoubleTree by Hilton West Edmonton,
16615-109 Ave. Edmonton, Alberta Canada
 Feb. 6, 2018 to April 1, 2018

Tickets $70 to $105, mayfieldtheatre.ca/tickets

Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com

Sometimes the best of business deals – the breakthrough talk that leads to later agreement at the negotiating table - take place on the golf course.

And, according to the Ladies Foursome, playing at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre in Edmonton from Feb. 6 to April 1, 2018, the golf course is often a place where emotions can also be explored in the few minutes when the foursome are gathering at the start of each hole.

The Ladies Foursome is a sweet show written by prolific Canadian playwright Norm Foster, a comedy with wistfulness, a comedy about regular folks who aren't super-stars, or characters plagued by bigger-than-normal problems.

Four people, four close friends tied together by a regular golf outing that has gone on for years and years, gather together for their regular game.

But some one is missing. Their fourth player is missing. She died the past week, struck by lightning on top of a ferris wheel where she'd been riding solo.

Following the funeral, with a need to restore routine, the three some gather. But the fourth player is a friend of the deceased, unbeknownst to the others, who is dropping in from a very different world.

The play is based on the conversations happening at the tee-off of each hole. As the show goes on, foibles and subtleties begin to show up. The sudden passing of the friend opens long-healed over emotional  wounds, opens up new possibilities of relationship, forces everyone to think anew what had been comfortable, but stagnant, friendships.

Keep in mind, however, that this is comedy. Gentle comedy about the foibles of every-day people: Connie (Stephanie Wolfe) is a local TV personality for whom conventional one-night stands are a hobby. Tate (Belinda Cornish) is the proverbial semi-frustrated wife, in a good relationship with her doctor husband and her children, but is this all there is to it all? Margot is long single, a tomboy succeeding in a men's world as president of her own construction firm who has, after long last, found herself a guy.

Dory (Amber Lewis) is the wild card. The friend of the deceased nobody else knows, who has her share of life's frustrations within a perfectly acceptable life, but is equally interested in stirring up the lives of the ladies she's joined for this round of golf.

The show is gentle, evolving from tee to tee as the four people move from hole to hole, revealing secrets and insights as they go. As always, life is deeper than what's on the surface, and Dory's the expert in provoking a scraping off of the facades to get to underlying truths – her own included.

It's a fun script, interesting in that it's written by man who has  nailed the emotional concerns of his four women characters. Set designer Doug Paraschuk's set design is clever indeed, creating an uncanny illusion of the four ladies actually teeing off at all the holes of a golf course, hitting imaginary golf balls with varying degrees of accuracy. Director Jim Guedo keeps the show moving along within the rather small physical space of the tree-surrounded tee box set.

Most pleasurable about this show is the uniform strength of acting. Wolfe and Cornish are local comedy icons fully realizing their characters. Karen Wood captures the tough but vulnerable Margot. Amber Lewis as Dory handles the emotional surgical knife her character wields with unerring accuracy.

One goes to the Mayfield Dinner Theatre to be gently entertained after a good buffet dinner – the roast beef, incidentally, is delicious. The Ladies Foursome is good sitcom-like entertainment, and as a plus, offers insight into the nature of personal relationships. It's a satisfying evening of pleasant, conventional theatre.