1 March 2024

Fox brings good fun, lots of laughs at the Lieder Theatre

| John Thistleton
Start the conversation
Blake Selmes and Alyce King playing the lovestruck Justin and Louise in <em>Fox on the Fairway</em>

Blake Selmes and Alyce King playing the lovestruck Justin and Louise in Fox on the Fairway. Photo: Peter Oliver Imagery.

I had a real good laugh on Wednesday night. So did everyone around me.

At the Lieder Theatre to see American playwright Ken Ludwig’s Fox on the Fairway, I thought everyone on stage was funny, and the play worked as promised: “a madcap adventure about love, life and man’s eternal love affair with golf”.

There’s a new kid on the block at the Lieder. Fresh into his role as artistic director Blake Selmes has turned to Ludwig whose plays and musicals have been performed in more than 30 countries and are produced somewhere every night of the year.

READ ALSO Actor, director, innovator, Chrisjohn Hancock retires

Choosing a proven playwright is one thing, bringing Fox on the Fairway to life on the stage is another.

“It’s really difficult to put on and I wanted that challenge for myself and the cast,” Selmes said.

As work began he cleared his first hurdle – the sudden unavailability of actors – by throwing himself into the role of Justin, a new recruit at work, eager to please but fragile.

Each one in this cast of five actors has their dialogue and characters down pat and polished to bring on the laughs as the playwright intended.

A gifted but nervous Justin has landed a job at a golf club, working alongside the love of his life Louise, a ditzy blonde easily prone to tears.

Playing the obnoxious antagonist Dickie Bell, Ryan Paranthoiene brings a commanding voice to the theatre.

Playing the obnoxious antagonist Dickie Bell, Ryan Paranthoiene brings a commanding voice to the theatre. Photo: Peter Oliver Imagery.

Their boss Bingham is played by Steve Routley, the ruthless and desperate country club boss pitted against Ryan Paranthoiene’s Dickie Bell, an obnoxious womaniser and rival club director.

Propelling their scheming and conniving are Dickie’s ex-wife, the sassy Pamela played by Amarilis Amaro and Muriel, Bingham’s scary wife, played by Melissa Chandler.

READ ALSO For 30 years Goulburn ballet principal kept children on their toes

Upping the ante in the annual grudge match between Bingham and Bell’s clubs, the town’s top golfer has switched teams, $200,000 is wagered on the outcome, and a lucrative property rezoning. A nice touch is having actor Brian Hill on the set’s television calling the winning shot.

Fox on the Fairway gets full marks because I heard every word of what was said (never taken for granted these days) and was riveted for the two-hour duration to see what happened next. If I could change one thing, I’d ask players to slow down a little in their delivery of opening lines in the very beginning.

A theatrical performer for more than eight years, Selmes is now taking on the overarching project management required to stage a major performance. He is making good use of the skilled people in his team, and maintaining the Lieder’s culture of creativity and professionalism.

Fox on the Fairway will continue playing at the Lieder Theatre, 52 Goldsmith Street Goulburn on 2, 6, 8 and 9 March, 7:30 – 10 pm. Bookings are available here.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.