THE ODD COUPLE (Female Version)

Date 24th February 2017
Society Contrast Theatre Company
Director Anne Burgan


Author: Lyn Emmerson

The return of Contrast Theatre to the stage was a really hilarious treat with their production of this classic Neil Simon piece. Full marks for set design and construction with easy access to entrances and exits, adequate props, and giving that New York feel through the windows. The play, adapted for women by the author in 1985, tells of a group of six women who regularly meet for a game of trivial pursuit. Their meeting place, an apartment belonging to the slovenly Olive Madison whose lifestyle is echoed in the empty cans, crisp papers and pizza boxes which litter her living room. Without giving too much away, the only character who is late for the evening is the prissy Florence Unger who has just left her husband, and the story really takes off from there. The script was pacey from the start with accents maintained throughout.

Anne Davenport was spot on with her characterization of the slapdash, unkempt apartment owner Olive Madison. Anne gave a superb portrayal of this loud, brash character with mannerisms and facial expressions at every opportunity, yet melting when the two brothers visited from upstairs and then again towards the end of the piece, an admirable performance. The role of Florence Unger, who had just separated from her husband, was in the capable hands of experienced Kate Russell who, with her orderly and meticulous way of life was too much to bare for Olive. Kate gave that fussy, everything in its place, finicky, attitude to this role, cleaning and dusting at every opportunity, which was so annoying to Olive. A superb performance from Kate of this pernickety, hypochondriac and a fine foil for Olive. These two characters bounced off each other throughout and neither of them missed a trick.

Visiting from the apartment upstairs, the two Spanish brothers, Manolo Costazuela and Jesus Costazuela were portrayed by Richard Aaron Davies and Ashley McAllister respectively. Complete with their Spanish ‘tan’, these two had the audience in the palm of their hands from their first entrance. Superb Spanish accents and infectious laughs throughout, they both filled these roles with aplomb. Good support from the other four female cast members, each one giving a creditable portrayal of their character. The thoughtful Sylvie, - Dominique Watkins, New York Policewoman – Mickey the potential problem solver – Jenny Hendy. Rachel Jones as Vera, who was ‘missing the point’ and a bit slow, and Susan Lewis as the down to earth joker, Renee, who was never seen without a cigarette.

The cast was carefully selected and every member was believable. This was a first class production with, from what I can gather, much fun at rehearsals which radiated throughout the actual performances, thus resulting in the resounding accolade the Company received from the appreciative audience.

Congrats to all concerned, and I look forward eagerly to your next production.