Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Odd Couple"

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note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Bob Guenthner a k a The Old Grump


reviewed by The Old Grump

"Odd Couple"

by Neil Simon
directed by Marco Zanelli

Bill Stambaugh - Speed
Richard Carey - Murray
Michael Costello - Roy
Randy Marquis - Vinnie
Joseph Siriani - Oscar Madison
Michael Kreutz - Felix Ungar
Rose Carlson - Cecily Pigeon
Lea Contarino - Gwedolyn Pigeon

This group of actors was perfectly cast for this production. Very seldom do you see a cast, on the local level, without a weak performance or two. Not in this show.

The set, a livingroom, dinningroom combination. The floor was covered with newspapers, pizza boxes and books. The table was a cluttered mess of poker chips, playing cards, a bag of pretzels and dirty glasses. I became home sick for my own little place.

The basic story concerns one divorced man [ Oscar ], one newly separated man [ Felix ], and their four poker playing buddies. In an early scene, the boys are concerned about Felix. They believe he is going to kill himself. They scamper back and forth over the stage as a group, trying to thwart any imagined suicide attempt. The crowd roared at their antics. Felix is so messed up, he sent his wife a suicide note in a telegram. Clearing his sinuses, drove the audience into laughing fits. Poor Oscar, Felix is such a clean freak, he washes the playing cards. He is also a gourmet cook. Oscar served your choice of green sandwiches or brown sandwiches, washed down with warm beer or soda. The refrigerator has been broken for weeks. Vinnie and Murray love the sandwiches Felix serves, but Oscar and Speed yell their displeasure. They only want to play poker.

Wanting company of a woman, Oscar invites a pair of sisters he meets in the elevator to have dinner at his apartment. Of course the food gets burned. For some strange reason, these good looking ladies are attracted to Felix. Oscar can't take Felix any more and kicks him out. Felix moves in with the girls.

Marco keeps the action running smoothly. Even the scene changes are accompanied by watching old TV clips on two screens. Bat Man, Gilligan, Jeffersons, Get Smart are a few of the TV shows that are accompanied by their theme songs.

Randy was very good as the only happy married man in the group.

Mike Costello was equally as good. He played Oscars' nervous, nerdy accountant.

Richard as Murray the cop played his role perfectly.

Bill was the tough guy of the group. You could believe his anger when he got going. I remember Bill from another play. In that one he played a neat, well dressed Stanley in Street Car. How I wish the director had stuck to the original version and let this guy play it as it was written. He would have been great.

Michael Kreutz can sing, dance, do comedy or drama. An accomplished musician and musical director/conductor. No wonder he is such a respected performer.

Joe is getting back on stage after an operation that kept him side lined for way too long. Joe is such a pro, I will travel to see him in any play he decides to be in. I met Joe's wife and daughter before the show, lovely girls. I won a small fortune in a bet with his wife.

Speaking of lovely girls, the Pigeon sisters, Rose and Lea. I must say that these sexy blondes captivated me, even though they were not on stage for any length of time.

The show was in the upper level of the theater. It is part of the balcony of the old movie house. A wonderfully intimate place to watch a play. Sitting in the first row, you felt part of the proceedings.

"The Odd Couple" (27 September - 6 October)
109 Central Street, NORWOOD MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide