Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Odd Couple"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2006 by Tony Annicone

"The Odd Couple"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Ungar/Madison Production Company's current production is Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple". It is the well know story about sloppy Oscar Madison taking in cleaning fanatic Felix Ungar after his wife Frances throws him out. It also includes their poker playing buddies, Murray, the cop, Speed, who argues constantly, Roy, Oscar's accountant and Vinnie, the sandwich eater. Throw in the scene stealing British, Pigeon sisters, Gwendolyn and Cecily and you have the necessary ingredients for the comic romp that follows.

Ben Barber who previously directed the group's opening show "Twelve Angry Men", tackles a new venue, by directing a comic play. He chooses mostly high school students for these roles but they are talented enough to make the roles their own and receive many laughs while doing so. The group's next show is the funny comedy, Sylvia.

Jamie Dufault, a sophomore at URI who is majoring in journalism and film studies, handles the difficult role of the neurotic, Felix. He clears his throat, hurts his arm, sulks and has a wonderful hang dog expression, too. Jamie's Felix tells Oscar off in a funny scene but his funniest scene is when he yells at Oscar for being late for dinner and cries with the two sisters, endearing them to him. Jamie does a wonderful job after being away from the stage for almost two years. Dave DeAngelis, a senior at Chariho High School, plays the loudmouth, Oscar, with ease. Oscar is constantly broke, blustery and bossy but when he realizes that Felix helped him change for the better, the audience laughs at his transition. Dave garners many laughs and interacts very well with all the other characters. He and Jamie make a very good odd couple indeed.

Their card playing cronies bring their characters to life and make it easy for the audience to figure out who is who while doing it. Dave DeAlmo, a senior at Chariho who will hopefully be attending a NYC college, does a dynamite job as the gun toting, Murray, the cop. His line delivery is crisp, clear and clean and he commands the stage in all his scenes. Another Chariho senior in the show is Ben Rose as Vinnie. Ben recently did a bang up job as Don Quixote in "Man Of La Mancha". Here he plays the cheapskate who goes to Florida in July because it is off season and he constantly talks about food, enjoying a BLT on pumpernickel with no crust made especially for him by Felix. The commentary on the food between Ben and Dave is hilarious. James Driscoll plays Roy, Oscar's alimony worrying accountant. He whines and badgers the spendthrift, Oscar about losing at poker constantly but his funniest scene is where he has trouble breathing in the spotlessly clean apartment. Preston Lawhorne plays the bossy, bullying Speed who wants the cards dealt promptly and for Vinnie and Murray to stop discussing food at the poker game. The two actresses who play the Pigeon sisters,Jessica Woodard and Lea Ann Richardson, are a hoot with their perfect British accents and their mini skirts and short shorts. Their lines are very funny and their crying scene with Felix is a laugh out loud moment. So for a fun filled evening of an old classic, be sure to catch "The Odd Couple" with some talented young performers playing these well known roles.

"The Odd Couple" (24 - 26 February)
THE UNGAR/MADISON PRODUCTION COMPANY
WESTERLY RI
1 (401)862-2446

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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