Return to Reviews NCPR Home
The Odd Couple
Opened at The St. Lawrence Stage Co., Brockville, ON, Wednesday, June 13, 2001
THE ODD COUPLE - you've all seen the TV series and the movie, but how long has it been, (if ever), since you've seen the play? For me it had been at least 20 years, and I'd forgotten how funny it is. It's much funnier than the TV show, and although the movie is terrific, it's lots more fun to see live versions of Oscar and Felix facing off toe to toe. The characters have become almost too familiar, but seeing it on a stage brings a freshness to the material, as well as some nice surprises.
Speaking of surprises, the entire cast does a nice job with the New York accents, although every now and then someone lets the Canadian slip "out". Another nice surprise is what good actors the poker players are. I tend to think of this as a two-man play and it's certainly not, especially in this production. John Kozak as Roy, Richard as Speed, Ostap Soroka as Murray and Steven Gauci as Vinnie are all very well cast and very funny in their roles. Mr. Gauci is an exceptional physical comedian as well.
The Pigeon sisters, Laura Oliver as Cecily and Marsha Ann Mason as Gwendolyn, are wonderfully dippy with appropriately screechy giggles. Their timing is really good, especially that of Ms. Mason.
Terry V. Hart as Oscar and Rob McClure as Felix are truly an odd couple, and play well together. Mr. Hart needs to relax just a bit, as some of his dialogue was so fast it was hard to catch, and we don't want to miss a word. I hate to give away a laugh line, but his delivery of one of my favorites was great. When trying to convince Felix to spend the money to go out to dinner he pleads, "We'll cut back on our laundry. We won't wear sox on Thursday."
Mr. Mclure is believably neurotic as Felix who even has, as Oscar says, "clenched hair". He avoids the trap of prissiness, and we're able to understand why all the guys like and put up with him. This is part of the brilliance of Neil Simon's comedies. He creates real people, never caricatures, and the laughs come from situation and character. There's never just a joke for a joke's sake.
Am I getting too laudatory? Here are a couple of quibbles. I've never seen a New York apartment that didn't have a dead-bolt lock at the very least. I've also never seen one quite so blue. Other than that, Calvin Prescott's set is just fine.
Director Adam Furfaro has done a good job of keeping the pace up and creating an ensemble cast. I question his decision to up-date the script, as I don't think it needs it, but I must say the Eric Lindross joke got a huge laugh.
The opening night audience was very responsive and appreciative. Artistic Director Furfaro has gotten his season off to a great start with a production that's a lot of fun. We all had a really good time.
On a scale of one to five, the St. Lawrence Stage Company's production of THE ODD COUPLE gets four and a half maple leaves. For North Country Public Radio, I'm Connie Meng.