Picture someone who’s shy and doesn’t like to meet people – and then imagine how that disadvantage might be turned into a side-splitting comedy.
It’s all part of Serial Productions’ latest show The Foreigner, written by US playwright Larry Shue and directed by Rob Warner at the Old Mill Theatre.
Taking place in a fishing lodge in rural Georgia, Englishmen Froggy and Charlie arrive as guests – but Charlie is terribly shy, depressed about his wife’s illness and cannot find the words to reply to people.
“Froggy claims Charlie can’t talk because he’s a ‘foreigner’ from an exotic country and doesn’t understand English,” Warner said.
“The guests take this explanation as fact and, as the play goes on, secrets are revealed to Charlie.
“Sometimes people do it on purpose and other times it’s because Charlie happens to listen in on plans by nasty people.
“It all culminates in a hilarious climax and heart-warming ending.”
The Foreigner has previously won two Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best New American Play and Best Off-Broadway Production.
It’s second-time around for Warner who made his directing debut with the comedy at Marloo Theatre in 2016, picking up the Yvonne Lynch Breakthrough Award, David Crewes Award for best set and nominations for best director and best play, at the annual Finley Awards.
Joining Marloo Theatre in 1993, initially just to keep an eye on his kids, Warner has been involved ever since and has spent the past 12 years as president.
He mainly works as a stage manager and has branched out with other companies including the Old Mill, KADS, Regal, Rechabites and Stirling Theatres and the Graduate Dramatic Society.
More recently, Warner directed a sell-out season of Wife After Death for Serial Productions at the Old Mill Theatre and The Anniversary for Marloo Theatre.
“I enjoy doing comedy because I believe people want to go out and have a good laugh,” he said.
“With The Foreigner, the main challenge is ensuring that audiences believe a person who is so quiet can change so much by taking on a different personality.
“It’s also one of the few modern comedies that remains true to human nature despite its absurd excesses.”
The Foreigner plays at 8pm August 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17 and 18 with 2pm matinees August 5 and 12. Tickets are $25, $22 concession – book at www.trybooking.com/VELJ. On August 4, 50 per cent proceeds will go to the WA Heart and Lung Transplant Foundation.
The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road, South Perth (opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post).
foreigner1: Joe Isaia, left, as Charlie and Steven Ozanne as Ellard in the side-splitting comedy The Foreigner.
foreigner2: The Foreigner features Joe Isaia, Jacqui Warner and Steven Ozanne.
foreigner3: Betty Meeks (Jacqui Warner, left) and Froggy (Ray Egan) get their spoons on in The Foreigner.
foreigner4: Ellard (Steven Ozanne, left) tries to teach Charlie (Joe Isaia) to count.
Serial Productions is a Perth Theatre company started in 2011 by a group of friends involved in the Perth Community Theatre scene. Our aim is to bring BBC Television Series and quality plays to life on the Perth theatre stage.
In 2012, we produced our inaugural production Open All Hours at the Old Mill Theatre. The show was a resounding success and also raised more than $3000 for the Leukaemia Foundation, which was donated in memory of our friend and founding company member Graham Sharpe.
Since then, we have been able to produce one show per year which we are pleased to say have been very well-received and enjoyed by our patrons. We hope you will continue to enjoy our shows for many years to come.
P: 0417 095 374