"The Odd Couple" is a familiar story to us all thanks to Broadway and the television series. So why go see it again?
The production of "The Odd Couple," currently on stage at the Okoboji Summer Theatre, is fantastic! You witness two seasoned actors, one a professor of acting at Stephens College and the other a movie and television actor from Hollywood, play off each other as truly funny men with opposite personalities coping with divorce.
Californian Mark Taylor portrays the fastidious Felix Unger while Rob Doyen is the slob, Oscar Madison. These two are actually brothers-in-law in real life but were hilarious adversaries in the play.
Taylor brought to the Felix role such an intense state of cleanliness, borderline paranoia, that I (a tidy person) even got irritated with him by the second act. He was so very, very good in this role. Bravo Mark and thanks for giving us such an excellent workshop on how convincing comedy acting can be!
Doyen is the quintessential Oscar. The character is a short-fused slob! I wouldn't live in the same apartment with him for one day! Doyen was so convincing as Oscar that I wanted to alternately slap him and ring his neck.
The poker playing buddies were a fun group. Herbert Moore did a fine job as the cop Murray. Brett Olson as Speed and Cooper Slater as Roy were quite amusing. It was nice to see Jim Kennedy on the stage as Vinnie. He was good in this role.
I loved the Pigeon sisters, played by Katherine Moore and Sydney Benton. They did a pair of dingbat, gullible British siblings extremely well. They were very amusing.
I tip my hat to scenic designer Emily Dinkel. She was able to locate or recreate that dismal apartment of Oscar's perfectly. I don't know where she found that furniture that dates back to 1966, before my oldest child was born. It was authentic looking and adaptable to the antics in the story. Everyone was tripping over the long telephone chord. While humorous, it made me really appreciate my cell phone with no such hazards.
We left the building with huge smiles on our faces, chuckling at the show we had just seen. It was funny and well done from beginning to end. What a wonderful way to spend an evening. Since both lead actors have been in the business for four decades, as well as being related to each other, to see them actually perform together for the first time was historical as well. They obviously had a great time on stage together and we had a wonderful time in the audience! It is one of those shows I will remember for years to come.
"The Odd Couple" runs through Sunday night at OST.