“The Fox on the Fairway,” a farce by Ken Ludwig (“Lend Me a Tenor”) staging through Dec. 17 at Carpenter Square Theatre, is the golfing equivalent of shooting 136 on a par-72 course: If you happened to do it, you wouldn’t want anyone to know.
Carpenter Square never met a Ludwig play it didn’t like, and this quadruple bogey contains about every theatrical cliché going back to the ancient Greeks. He employs convenient coincidence, inopportune entrances, unlikely misunderstanding, freak accidents and unfortunate amplification the way a greenskeeper spreads fertilizer. The subject gives him plenty of openings to use “balls” as a double entendre. The plot meanders from bunker to rough to water hazard and back to bunker.
The setting is the day of the Quail Valley Country Club and Crouching Squirrel Country Club annual interclub golf tournament. Quail Valley has lost the tourney five straight years, so the pressure is on Bingham (Terry Veal), the club manager. He and Dickie (Nick Backes), head of Crouching Squirrel, are personal and golfing rival whose arrogance leads them to make an astronomical bet on the event, which causes them to weave a tangled web of lies and complications that reveal old infidelities.
Rhonda Clark directs, and one sort of admires the actors, who seemingly buy into the premise and give an energetic, consistent performance of an inferior script. The cast includes seasoned professionals and capable newcomers who ably deal the show their best shot in one of Ludwig’s lesser efforts. Of course, a golf cart spinning its wheels in a foot of mud generates a lot of sound and fury, too.Jeff Moody plays young Justin, a new Quail Valley employee who loves Louise (the frenetic Dina Peek), a club waitress. Mona Campbell is Pamela Peabody, Quail Valley horny socialite, while Sheryl Martin plays the imperious Muriel, Bingham’s wife.
The script is not clear on who is the eponymous fox. It may be Louise, but she’s hardly foxy. The play has a serious lapse in logic concerning her character: She seems overwhelmingly incapable of telling a lie, but a little white lie she tells early in the play sets the shaky plot in motion.
Overall, “Fox” is a meaningless theatrical tryst, acted well. If anything, the direction and acting is worth the trip.