As the foundation for its laughter The Foreigner, now at Cincinnati Playhouse, asks audiences to accept a lulu of a gimmick. Many comedies do. The problem with gimmicks is that once they’re established, the playwright must create characters and situations so funny and so convincing that they transcend the gimmickry. Shakespeare and Chase managed.
Foreigner playwright Larry Shue is only intermittently successful — mostly in Act Two.
Direction by Kenneth Albers is crisp. Most performances are good. Newcomer Raymond McAnally is sly and on target as a way-smarter-than-he-seems handyman. He ignites the play’s funniest sequence when he thinks he’s teaching Charlie to read. Sandri, who was a stitch in The Mystery of Irma Vep, sacrifices some comprehension to accent as the racist. Tuesday-Sunday through April 10.