Theater Review:

Players put their all into ‘Foreigner’

May 19, 2010|By Matt Bellner

Imagine living a life where everybody around you thinks you can’t understand English. Sounds perfect to me. What if this were true and wacky people you didn’t know started telling you their innermost secrets? Could you stay “stupid”? Would you break down, speak the truth or use this knowledge to your advantage?

These questions and concepts are explored in Larry Shue’s comedy, “The Foreigner,” being presented by Glendale’s nonprofit community theater group, the Stepping Stone Players at the Hoover Little Theatre.

The star of the show is Dave Huber, who plays the role of Charlie the Foreigner. Charlie spends much of the play pretending to be a simpleton and just smiles and says thank you to everything that is confessed to him by the strange folk of a small Georgia town.


The beautiful Corey Lynn Howe plays the female lead, Catherine, with a sly wink to Southern charm. Even though Catherine is pregnant and engaged to be married, could she be falling in love with a mysterious outsider who can only listen and not form sentences? Because of his good ear, Charlie may be the perfect man for Catherine.

A major supporting character, Froggy, is aware of Charlie’s secret and their scenes together were my favorite. The recognizable Mitch Lewis nails the part of Froggy and he single handedly kept the opening act moving.

Because “The Foreigner” was originally written in the early 1980s, the pacing of the dialogue is slow by today’s standards. Be warned, the play does last for a little more than 2 ½ hours but there is a brief intermission. Do yourself and the theater a favor by buying some of the amazing cookies that are for sale. The sugar rush will get you pumped up for the second act, which makes the entire show worthy of my recommendation.

To be honest, the crowd at my Saturday night show was rather small and muted. Here’s a tip if you attend: The actors want and need you to laugh. Numerous funny moments seemed to sail over people’s heads and this brought the energy down in the room. If you’re a student at Hoover High School and Mr. Huber is your drama teacher, you had better show up this weekend and sit on the front row. I guarantee “Charlie” will give you extra credit and you’ll get to witness some behavior frowned upon in a classroom setting.

My first acting job ever was for a community theater and therefore I have a soft spot for groups like the Stepping Stone Players. It was obvious that everybody involved put their heart and soul into the production. The set is stunningly beautiful and all of the actors had the extensive script and timing memorized. The director, Susan Kussman, had her people ready and they gave 100%. Now I just want the public to give 100% and buy some tickets.

There are a few twists and turns in the play involving the Ku Klux Klan that make things a little heavy in the end but I like to keep my reviews light and tight. You can experience the finale on your own and form your own opinion. If you’re looking for a change of pace this weekend and want to support local theater, don’t be a stranger and visit “The Foreigner.”

About the writer MATT BELLNER is an actor and freelance writer from Burbank.

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