Reviewed by Sue Hardie
No doubt, you already know this story. You remember the television show with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall from the 70s, or you’ve seen the classic film with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple first opened on Broadway in 1965 and has been much loved and wildly popular ever since. Sowhy see it again? Because this raucous production at Theatre Palisades will charm you and have you crying tears of laughter from the moment the curtains open on Oscar Madison’s wildly unkempt apartment.
As the men arrive at Oscar’s apartment for a game of cards, we meet Speed (Stevie Johnson), sharp – witted and sharply dressed (kudos to costume designer June Lissandrello), Roy (Mark Fields Davidson) Oscar’s uptight, histrionic accountant, the whimpy Vinnie (Stephen Holland), and Murray (Bob Grochau) the policeman and slowest card dealer you have ever seen. But there’s nothing slow about the action in this production! The often-simultaneous physical humor and hilarious dialogue is delivered with flawless timing by this ensemble of very talented actors.
Much credit goes to director Jonathan Fahn whose expert direction keeps the audience delighted, surprised and laughing. The ever-confident slob Oscar (Michael Sorich) serves up moldy sandwiches, stale chips and warm cans of beer and soda as the group grows anxious wondering why Felix is late. When Felix (Scott Gardner) finally arrives depressed and apparently suicidal over the break-up with his wife, all hell breaks loose until it’s decided that Felix moving in with Oscar is the solution. Or is it?
When Oscar invites his attractive neighbors Gwendolyn and Cecily Pigeon (Star Calvert and Samantha Labrecque respectively; played by Eleen Hsu-Wentlandt and Sara Guarnieri on alternating dates) to his apartment for a dinner prepared by Felix, we meet a pair of sisters who flutter and twitter side-splittingly as one.
I encourage – no – I urge you to see this production of The Odd Couple at Theatre Palisades for a thoroughly entertaining, fun and hilarious evening. You won’t be disappointed. I know I’m going back to see it again!
Producers: Sherry Coon and Nona Hale – Set and Lighting Design: Sherman Wayne
Sound Design: Susan Stangl – Stage Manager: Madge Woods
Running Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. through October 9, 2016.
Theatre Palisades, 941 Temescal Canyon Rd., Pacific Palisades
Tickets: $20 Adults; $18 Seniors & Students
Box Office Wednesday – Saturday 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.: 310.454.1970