Theatre Mirror Review"The Odd Couple -- Female Version"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2012 by Tony Annicone

"The Female Odd Couple"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

LaVoca's current production is Neil Simon's "The Female Odd Couple". Madison, the slob, and Unger, the cleaning fanatic, are at it again. Olive Madison and Florence Unger, that is, in Neil Simon's 1985 update of his play. Instead of poker, the girls meet every Friday night to play trivial pursuit and the very British Pigeon sisters have been replaced in this version with the hilarious Constanzuela brothers. The patterns of Olive and Florence's disastrous marriages begin to reappear in their new arrangement and so this too must end. But not before these 8 performers take you on a comic romp which will leave you in stitches from their crazy antics. Director Alan Hawkridge gives his cast some clever shtick to perform and they do so marvelously in this madcap romp.

The show boasts two strong actresses in the leading roles. Playing the hilarious, sloppy Olive is Patricia Hawkridge, a natural born comedienne. She delivers Neil Simon's one liners wonderfully, eliciting many laughs along the way. Her chase scene with Flo and the brothers scene are very comical. One of the funniest bits is when Olive wants to go out with some guys, takes Florence's hand and puts it on her breast exclaiming, "I need a bigger hand there with hair on the knuckles." Sharon Carpentier is terrific as the uptight, neatnik Florence. Her hangdog expressions and sighs make the girls worry that Flo might try to commit suicide. Her moose calls are hysterical as is her walking like Quasimodo when she sprains her neck. Patricia and Sharon's argument scenes crackle with intensity and their reactions to the Spanish brothers are hilarious, too.

The two biggest scene stealers in this show are Neil Santoro as Manolo and Walter Cotter as Jesus, the Spanish brothers. Their entrance brings down the house with its hilarity. The characters mangle the English language and their outfits are funny, too. They try to woo the two girls but eventually end up feeling sorry for Flo. Sharon and their crying scene is marvelous. The boys decide to take her in, defending her against Olive's insults. Neil and Walter are hilarious in this show. The four girls playing the Trivial Pursuit game are all different from one another so you can tell them apart with ease. Alan gives each of them their moment to shine in this show. Sandra Lee plays the tough cop, Mickey who bosses the other girls around, Carole Collins plays the hypochondriac who loves dating doctors, Marcia Layden is a hoot as the ditsy, Vera who dresses in dowdy clothes and goes on vacations in Florida in July because the rates are cheaper and Kate Ambrosini plays the sexy, Sylvie who loves to talk about sex and gossip with the girls during their weekly games. So for a terrific look at one of Neil Simon's comic shows, be sure to catch "The Female Odd Couple" before time runs out.

"The Female Odd Couple" (14 - 17 June)
LaVOCA: THEATRE THAT SPEAKS
@ William Hall Library, 1825 Broad Street, CRANSTON RI
1(401)726-6523

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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