Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Odd Couple"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2000 by Tony Annicone

"The Odd Couple"

Tony Annicone

St. Theresa's Parish's presentation of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple" is a laugh riot from start to finish. The well known story about sloppy Oscar Madison (Bert Cayer, Jr.) taking in cleaning fanatic Felix Unger (Bob St. George) after his wife Frances throws him out and their poker playing buddies, Murray, the cop (Larry Leduc), Speed, the cigar smoker (Charles Perron), Roy, Oscar's accountant, (Joe Casey) and Vinnie, the nervous constant eater, (Steve Slate) are not only well played but well directed, too. Throw in two fantastic actresses as the scene stealing Pigeon sisters, Gwendolyn (Maureen Mann) and Cecily (Dorothy Hunt), along with masterful direction by Don Therrien and you have the comic romp that follows.

Don's perceptive direction lets you know wowho each of the card players are from the very beginning. He gives them the correct stage business to use here and throughout the show. Don also gives the Oscar and Felix characters the direction needed to make them unique character, too. The hilarious giggling Pigeon sisters are also given their's moments to shine. Don gives this show the multilayered performances it needs to bring it to its full potential. He also designed and built the set and is an outstanding actor as well as director. Bravo!

The card playing cronies are all wonderful actors making their facial expressions bring their characters to life. Cigar chomperand tough guy, Speed is played by Charles Perron who wears Yankee shirts and gives orders right back at Oscar. Larry Leduc makes Murray, who always knows the right answers and is always hungry, a very funny authority figure. Joe Casey as Roy, Oscar's alimony worrying accountant, is hysterical in his portrayal especially when he has troubling breathing in a too clean apartment. Great facial expressions as he is gasping for fresh air. Steve Slate as Vinnie is another hilarious performer with his nervous behavior, a very expressive face and the commentary on the food especially the humorous eating scene of the BLT with the no crust. Good comic delivery!

Maureen and Dorothy almost steal the show as the Pigeon sisters. Their miniskirts, make-up and wonderful line delivery bring about much laughter.The crying scene with Felix, their giggling on the sofa with Oscar and the final scene where they stand up to Oscar in Felix's defense are standout moments in his show. A delightful duo! Look for ward to seeing them in future shows

. Last, but not least are the two superb actors that play Oscar and Felix. Bert as Oscar plays the loudmouth, always broke, blustery, bossy but in the end good hearted character beautifully. His realization that Felix has helped him change is handled with ease. Bert makes the transitions seamlessly, fleshing out Oscar and giving him more depth.

Bob St. George handles the difficult role of Felix to perfection. He makes this neurotic character a multifaceted three dimensional person. From the hangdog expressions to his clearing his nose, to his stiff neck, to his sore throat and hurt arm, Bob makes Felix very, very funny. His crying scenes when he tells Oscar and later the sisters about his breakup are hysterical. The chemistry between Bob and Bert is perfectalong with a great cast makes this definitely a show not to miss.
Kudos to everyone involved with this production of "The Odd Couple".

"The Odd Couple" (till 29 October)
SAINT THERESA'S PARISH HALL
35 Dion Drive, BURRILLVILLE, RHODE ISLAND
1(401) 568-8280

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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