Review: The Odd Couple at Muncie Civic Theater
By Phoebe Wantz
MUNCIE, IN - "The Odd Couple," the Tony Award-winning comedy classic of famously mismatched roommates, Oscar and Felix, opened tonight at Muncie Civic Theatre. This beloved comedy by Neil Simon is both surprisingly poignant and side-splitting funny.
The show opened originally in 1965 on Broadway with Art Carney and Walter Matthau in the title roles; became a movie in 1968 starring Jack Lemmon and Mr. Matthau; and ran five seasons (1970-75 as a television series, with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. The plot is pretty well known, at least to anyone over 45.
Oscar Madison (Michael Kleeberg) is a happy slob. Recently divorced, he lives alone in an eight-room apartment in Manhattan, takes no interest in housekeeping or food safety. "I have brown sandwiches or green sandwiches," he announces to his buddies when he hosts their regular poker game. The poker buddies: Speed (Edward Conley); Murray (Sean Orloskey); Roy (Scott McFadden); Vinnie (Steve Sharkey) are a perfect ensemble group. Their timing and pacing throughout is perfect. Each actor was very believable and natural in their part and prove once again....there is no such thing as a small part! It's what you do with it!
Felix (Todd Terrell) is as morose and finicky as Oscar is cheerful and easy going. When he moves in with Oscar, after his wife throws him out, he turns Oscar's relaxed home into a spotless bastion of neatness. Suddenly there is delicious home cooking prepared with gleaming kitchen tools all by Felix to help Oscar pay his wife alimony. On poker nights now the boys are more interested in the food than in playing poker, and this is driving Oscar nuts. When Oscar invites the Pigeon sisters over for the evening everything goes terribly wrong. Felix still is missing his wife and children and ends up bringing everyone to tears to Oscar's chagrin. The Pigeon sisters, Gwendolyn (Rita Wessel) and Cecily (Lisa Wade) are all giggly and giddy and light up the stage with their performances, and the audience applauded when they exited the stage....they were that good!
The only thing I can nit-pick about the show is that someone should fix the poker table so that it doesn't tip back and forth....put a chip under a leg so it is steady. It is very distracting. No guys would play poker with a table like that. Also, someone needs to proof read the program. It is sad when a lead in a show has his name mis-spelled. Kudos to Director Michael O'Hara for 1) marvelous casting 2) great directing 3) a cast of community actors. Kleeberg and Terrell in the title roles were totally outstanding and each gave a great performance. The audience not only laughed, they guffawed and belly-laughed. What was the funniest moment? The ladle? The linguini? The pouts? The snorts? You will have to decide for yourself. But one thing for sure....you will laugh!
This is a show you will not want to miss. Plan to be thoroughly entertained. My theatre partner and I, and two friends went out to eat after and we all said, "What a wonderful show and how nice to come away and feel we have seen a truly good show!"
Muncie Civic Theatre presents THE ODD COUPLE on Mainstage, February 8th - 9th, 15th - 17th, & 21st - 23rd. Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30pm and the Sunday matinee on February 17th is at 2:00pm. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for Groups of 10+, and $10 for students & children.
Phoebe Wantz Art & Soul by Phoebe L