Review: ‘The Foreigner’ laughs its way to a hit

In a time when anyone can use a good laugh, Colorado’s vibrant theater community has produced a string of comedies that have done just that. The Arvada Center for the Art and Humanities has added to that with their production of “The Foreigner.”

Originally produced in 1984, this farce is all about accepting others and accepting the difference in your neighbor.

The Foreigner

Sammie Joe Kinnett as Charlie Baker Photo credit Zachary Andrews

To help the simple and shy Charlie Baker escape his life for a while, British officer Froggy LeSueur brings him to a small bed and breakfast in Georgia.  He then takes on a new persona as a foreigner who does not speak English.

During his stay, he befriends other guests and comes out of his shell, turning him into a new man just in time to help these Georgians defend their home.

This comedy certainly has a darker tone. Many of the residents love their foreign friend and his tales of his country. However,one of the townsfolk, Owen, is not too keen on the visitor. His true intentions are later revealed when he tells Froggy that he is going to make sure his kind is no longer around and that he has an Invisible Army to back him up.

Although this is one incredibly funny show, it  gets serious and strikes a message of acceptance. This idea was relevant 30 years ago during its premiere and is still pertinent today.

Sammie Joe Kinnett’s performance as Charlie was hilarious and , his quick use of facial expressions and mannerisms created a landslide of giggles and outbursts all night long.

The show has a plethora of skilled ensemble members including Edith Weiss, Zachary Andrews, Jessica Robblee and Greg Ungar. Each one brings a different style of comedy and humor to the stage and when mixed together creates something truly wonderful.

Jessica Robblee was spectacular but for me Edith Weiss took the cake. Her scatter-brained, loony and over compassionate character of Betty made me smile and laugh every time she walked on stage.

The cast is lead by director Geoffrey Kent,who is known for his ability to handle physical movements incredibly well. The humorous physical side was just as one would expect it to be, perfect. He also was able to balance the pace of the dialogue well. “The Foreigner” is a sporadic show in which characters have long comedic monologues before changing to more dramatic, slower scenes and Kent proved he knew how to pace the show correctly at every turn.

“The Foreigner” is more than just a comedy, it is a social farce that touches on issues of racism and nationality. It certainly is not as strong on its stance on race as shows such as the “Smart People” but it is not suppose to be. “The Foreigner” provides a night full of laughs and entertainment while reminding us that at the end of the day we are humans and deserve to be treated that way.

The Foreigner

Jessica Robblee (Catherine Simms), Sammie Joe Kinnett (Charlie Baker), Standing – Lance Rasmussen (Ellard Simms) and Edith Weiss (Betty Meeks).
Matt Gale Photography

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“The Foreigner” *** (out of four stars)

“The Foreigner” now playing at Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities 6901 Wadsworth Blvd, Arvada, CO 80003. Directed by Geoffrey Kent. Starring: Sammie Joe Kinnett. Through Nov 18. For tickets visit aravadcenter.org.

Arvada Center Rush Ticket Program

For over 40 years, the Arvada Center has produced entertaining and critically acclaimed professional theatre. We stand by our commitment to making live theatre available for everyone. This season, our discounted Rush Ticket program provides affordable access to all seven of our plays and musicals. Rush Tickets are available every Monday during the run of a production.

More details: https://arvadacenter.org/visit-the-center/special-discounts

 

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Review: 'The Foreigner' laughs its way to a hit
In a time when anyone can use a good laugh, Colorado's vibrant theater community has produced a string of comedies that have done just that. The Arvada Center for the Art
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