Dogstar Theater brings foible and farce to Center Stage with Larry Shue’s The Foreigner, featuring Matt Cooper (Froggy LeSuerur) and Justin Davanzo (Charlie Baker) as Brits on vacation at a hunting lodge in the Deep South. The lodge is home to owner Betty (Leslie Ann Story); prospective buyers David (Matt Smith) and Catherine (Ming Lauren Holden); and Catherine’s brother, Ellard (Tyler X Koontz). Charlie, in a bout of social anxiety, pretends to be a foreigner who speaks an unrecognizable language to avoid conversation with the other residents during his stay. His plan backfires when Betty, Catherine, and Ellard, fascinated by a romanticized notion of an exotic stranger, take a liking to Charlie and bring him into their confidences. When a plot to get the lodge condemned so it can be purchased for a fraction of its worth is revealed, Charlie, now firmly invested in saving his new friends, plays a pivotal role in a showdown with redneck bully Owen (Van Riker) and the KKK.
The Foreigner plays with well-known, burlesque-style bits, including “are-you-copying-me?” mimicry and an “I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you kids!” Scooby-Doo ending. It’s not a sophisticated piece of writing, and the production suffers from indecisiveness of tone, vacillating between farce and drama. However, Dogstar’s Foreigner offers appealing comic portrayals: notably, Holden as Catherine, the bratty ex-debutante in need of a bestie; and Davanzo as Charlie, a sullen stuffed-shirt who finds moments of glory as the “foreigner” by releasing expectations and embracing the absurdity of the situation.