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Buzz News Chicago: Theatre and Concert Reviews

Saturday, 15 September 2007 06:00

Drury Lane's “The Odd couple” A Must See

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The Odd CoupleMost of us know playwright Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple from either the big screen with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemon as the quirky pair of opposite roommates or more recently (30 years ago) from the TV adaptation that starred Tony Randall as the germaphobic neat freak Felix Ungar and Jack Klugman as the slobbish sports writing Oscar Madison. However, whether you are familiar...

The Odd CoupleMost of us know playwright Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple from either the big screen with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemon as the quirky pair of opposite roommates or more recently (30 years ago) from the TV adaptation that starred Tony Randall as the germaphobic neat freak Felix Ungar and Jack Klugman as the slobbish sports writing Oscar Madison. However, whether you are familiar with The Odd Couple or not, the Drury Lane of Oakbrook’s stage rendition of the classic is not to be missed!

The laughs begin in a hurry from the opening scene that takes place around a poker table and the hilarity continues throughout the show’s entirety.

What happens when two long time pals, now both divorcees, move in together? Who knows? But when one is a hypochondriac that sneezes at the sight of dirt and the other is ok with a molding collection of leftovers next to his couch…let’s just say it gets quite interesting. This is the case when Oscar (Norm Boucher) takes in his best buddy Felix (Dan Rodden) after his wife boots him from the house for good.

At first it’s all roses. Felix cooks delicious meals for the two of them, somehow turns a disaster area into a pristine living space, and gives Oscar much-needed company in the large 8-room New York apartment. Sounds great for Oscar, that is until Felix drives him crazy by following the heavy cigar smoker around with an ashtray amongst other annoying over-board cleaning rituals, not to mention the strange sounds he emits due to his being allergic to just about everything.

In the meantime, the regular poker group, who at first is also sympathetic to Felix’s situation, also becomes unnerved with his exasperating antics. The “boys” consist of Murray the policeman (Dev Kennedy), Roy the accountant (Mark Czoske, Vinnie (Brooks Darrah) and Speed (David Kortemeier).

In his Drury Lane Oakbrook debut, Norm Boucher does a tremendous job as Oscar and is worth seeing in his own right. From his facial expressions to his body language, Norm IS Oscar. His opposite, Dan Rodden, is a very funny Felix, getting the opportunity to showcase his wide range of talent, which consists of physical humor and timely line delivery.

Of course we can’t have The Odd Couple without Oscar and Felix’ upstairs neighbors, the Pigeon sisters marvelously played by Elizabeth Ledo and Carrie Lee Patterson.

As good as the Boucher and Rodden were as the main characters, I really enjoyed the chemistry of the regular poker group. Their back and forth banter along with their conclusions and mis-conclusions was entertaining and laugh out loud funny.

The bottom line is a masterfully written script wonderfully acted out. The Odd Couple runs through October 7th.
Last modified on Tuesday, 07 October 2008 20:47

 

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