The Chemainus Theatre Festival’s next show is a comedy: ‘The Foreigner’ hits the stage April 18. (submitted)

‘The Foreigner’ is back at Chemainus Theatre with big laughs

It was first produced in Chemainus in 1996 and the laughter it created then made it a big success.

The Chemainus Theatre Festival’s second show of the season promises to leave audiences in stitches. Award-winning comedy The Foreigner hits the stage April 18 to May 9.

It’s not the first time for this audience favourite at the Chemainus Theatre. It was first produced in Mural Town in 1996 and the laughter it created then made it a smashing success.

The Foreigner is a comedy that occurs in a fishing lodge in rural Georgia where two Englishmen, Froggy, and Charlie, are guests. The shy Charlie had agreed to accompany Froggy on the trip after his sick wife begged him to go. When people at the lodge try to talk to Charlie, he remains silent. He is terribly shy, morose, depressed about his wife’s illness, and cannot find the words to reply.

Froggy claims that Charlie cannot talk because he is a “foreigner” from an exotic country and does not understand English. Taking the explanation that he’s a non-English speaker as fact, the lodge’s other guests quickly begin revealing their secrets, unwittingly making Charlie their confidant. Soon thereafter, Charlie discovers scandals among the guests in this hilarious farce.

Charlie progresses from an awkward wallflower lacking the confidence to a hero who spoils the evil plots of the villains. Betty can be found frequently yelling loudly at her “foreigner” guest to make her English understood. There is also an unwanted pregnancy, a conspiracy to scam the lodge from widow Betty Meeks, and the grand issue of inheritance.

Shue has packed a lot of plot into his two-act play that you won’t want to miss out on.

The Foreigner was written in 1983 and debuted Off-Broadway on Nov. 1, 1984. It earned two Obie Awards in 1985, and two Outer Critics Circle awards as Best New American Play and Best Off-Broadway Production.

Although written years ago, The Foreigner has remained enduring in its popularity and is not only sidesplitting humour, it also gives us food for thought as it reminds us that our all-too-human foibles, follies, and frailties can make us endearing as well as initiate inspiring personal transformations.

The production is directed by Kaitlin Williams with set design by Jessica Oostergo, and costumes by Chantal Short. Charlie Baker is played by Kirk Smith, “Froggy” LeSueur by Paul Herbert, Betty Meeks by Michelle Lieffertz, Rev. David Marshall Lee by Sheldon Graham, Catherine Simms by Mallory James, Owen Musser by Brett Harris, and Ellard Simms by Nathan Kay.

Call the Box Office at 1-800-565-7738 or visit chemainustheatre.ca to book your tickets. Show enhancements are available and include free “talk-backs” with the cast and crew following Wednesday performances, a special show-themed dinner in the Playbill Dining Room, and accommodation package at the Best Western Plus Chemainus Inn that includes a deluxe breakfast buffet, use of the indoor mineral pool, hot tub, and fitness centre.

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