When Ken Ludwig's golf farce, "The Fox on the Fairway" premiered at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Va., in 2010, the prolific playwright described his work as "a tribute to the classic English farces of the 1930s and 1940s."
In Prince George's Little Theatre's current production at Bowie Playhouse, Ludwig's goal is realized, exposing insanity on the golf course and in the clubhouse – at least by enthusiasts with their outrageous costumes.
The show finds the heads of two rival golf clubs – Dickie Bell of the Crouching Squirrel and Henry Bingham of the Quail Valley Club -- plotting strategies to defeat the other in an imminent tournament. Bell is a malapropism-prone womanizer who regularly wins the regional tournament.
Hapless rival Bingham thinks he has a sure winner in a golfer named Tramplemaine, and wagers $200,000 on him in a bet with Bell, adding his wife's antique shop as part of the gamble.
But when Bell entices Tramplemaine away to play for him instead, Bingham scrambles to find a replacement in his assistant Justin, who regularly scores in the 60s and is immediately drafted into the tournament.
Justin plays well unless he becomes upset, which can happen when he has problems with his girlfriend club waitress Louise. Other players enlivening the action include vodka-imbibing club trustee Pamela and Bingham's frosty, no-nonsense wife Muriel.
John Degnan has been in 17 Bowie Playhouse productions, but this is his first in the director's chair, and he makes a memorable debut here, guiding a cast he describes as "amazing, each having faithfully captured the essence and soul of their characters."
Degnan is assisted by set designer Keith Brown and decorator Roy Peterson, who create a realistic country club interior and gorgeous golf course beyond. Costume designer Gayle Negri creates attractive costumes for the ladies and outstanding golf attire for the men. The intricate sound design is created by Frank Pasqualino.
Delivering insanity on cue, players Alex Hyder as Justin and Erica Mueller as Louise present the picture of young love, while Brian Binney as Bingham and Rosalie Daelemans as Pamela bring zany dimensions to their suddenly irresistible attraction to each other.
Andy Negri as Dickie Bell brings unsuspected dimension in his admiration of Bingham's wife Muriel, comically portrayed by Carole Long.
"The Fox on the Fairway" continues weekends, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. through May 18 at Bowie Playhouse in White Marsh Park, 16500 White Marsh Park Dr., Bowie. This rollicking production provides a fun evening for golfers and even for those who never raised a club. For tickets, call 301-937-7458 or pglt.org.