through May 22, 2011
by Eric Johnson
The Devil is always in the details.
When one sets out to produce a period piece from 100 or 1000 years ago, minor details will go unnoticed by most. Electing to re-create 1968, however, is a bit trickier as anachronisms will be noticed.
Director Gina Kaufman states in the program that "the specifics of the characters' behavior don't make sense to me anywhere or any place else," and she is correct. Neil Simons' play about two men sharing a Riverside Drive apartment following Oscar's divorce and Felix's estrangement from his wife is most definitely dated and needs to take place in that when it was written.
Now for the details: Greg Trochlil (set) and Ilene Goldstein (costumes) do a fabulous job of setting the scene and seeing to all the little things such as shoes, a Roger Williams' album next to the stereo with turntable and 8-track player, and a generous smattering of that awful avocado green color that was a staple of furniture and appliances in that era.
The performances all are genuine and natural. Tim Cochran (Speed), Stuart Gamble (Murray), Daniel Popowich (Roy), and Steve Henderson (Vinnie) do a fantastic job opening the show, sitting around the table playing cards, smoking and drinking in the litter strewn apartment. Josh Perlstein as the slovenly Oscar inhabits the role convincingly and confidently and commits to some great choices for the character. James Emery's portrayal of the injury prone, obsessive Felix is delightful. Emery does a very nice job with a challenging role. Stephanie Carlson and Cate Damon as the Pigeon Sisters leave the audience in tears from raucous laughter in the date scene.
Kudos go to producing director Danny Eaton and to the cast and crew of "The Odd Couple" for taking on a show that is considered by many to have been done to death. Exceptional production values and excellent casting make this a show worth seeing.