The Odd Couple
A Summer Refresher

By Bob and Karen Isaacs

You will be astonished at the great fun you will have at the delightful production of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

Considering that this is a the familiar comedy classic that had a successful run on Broadway, was made into a smash movie, and then played endlessly as a sitcom on television, the comic effects and the well known jokes all produce great gales of laughter from an audience that is roaring with delight almost as if they had never seen or heard of this strange duo and their shenanigans before.

In case you've forgotten, the story centers on two different men, Oscar Madison (played masterfully by Tony Rossi) a major slob who is divorced and now living on his own, and Felix Unger (a major cleaning machine developed brilliantly by R. Bruce Connelly) whose wife has thrown him out because she no longer could stand his fastidiousness and who winds up living with his best friend Oscar.

The story uses a regular Friday night poker game in Oscar's apartment with Felix and four other friends through which the play goes forward although apparently the game does not.  With the arrival of Felix who proceeds to clean up Madison’s mess and provide special food for the card games, matters go downhill rapidly as Felix’s obsessions interfere with the normal flow of manly sloppiness.  If anything, Felix is like a wife and demands things such as promptness for meals and orderliness from Oscar.

What brings matters to a head is the introduction of "The Pigeon Sisters” the sexually attractive Gwendolyn and Cecily (Laura Beth Wells and Eleanor Handley) neighbors whom Oscar has met and has invited to dinner.  Whatever ideas Oscar had are soon blown away as the girls, hearing Felix’s sad story, take him off to their apartment for commiseration. But you know what happens next --  the breakup between the two men.

Before this is accomplished there are a load of funny actions including some rather slapstick material that will have you laughing as if you had never seen such actions before.

Under the direction of Lawrence Thelen, the play moves swiftly and the humor rolls over and under and all about you until you and the rest of the audience are standing and applauding the wonderful experience you had.

Special mention should be made of the quartet of card players each of whom creates a unique character and offer a great deal of the comedy in the play, Brian M. Cunningham, Al Mulvey, Mike Souney and M. Carl Kaufman.

The action plays out on a wonderful set designed by Dan Nischan with lighting and sound design by Tate R. Burmeister. C. Delari Johnston did the costumes including the especially attractive ones worn by "The Pigeon Sisters."

This is a great delight, truly a summer evening refresher.

The Odd Couple is at the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main St., Ivoryton, through August 30. For tickets and information call 860-767-7318 or online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org


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