THE ODD COUPLE (female version)
By Neil Simon
Richardson Theatre Centre
Director – Rachael Lindley
Stage Manager – Candie Blunt
Assistant Stage Manager – Kenneth Fulenwider
Set Designers – Kyle Chinn, Candie Blunt
Costumes – Rachael Lindley, Cast, and Crew
Lighting Design – Kenneth Hall
Sound Design – Rusty Harding
Sound/Light Operator – Kenneth Fulenwider
Prop Masters – Kenneth Fulenwider, Candie Blunt
Set Dressers – Candie Blunt, Rachael Lindley, Kenneth Fulenwider
Artistic Director – Rachael Lindley
Executive Director – Lise Alexander
House Manager/Facebook – Leigh Wyatt Moore
Playbill/Flyers/Web/Enews – Becky Byrley
Cast (in order of appearance)
Sylvie – Sue Goodner
Mickey – Sara Muir
Renee – Debbie Deverich
Vera – Laura Jennings
Olive Madison – Janette Oswald
Florence Unger – Deborah Key
Manolo Constazuela – Martin Mussey
Jesus Constazuela – Jay Laengrich
Reviewed Performance: 2/10/2023
Reviewed by Carla Wicks, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Having grown up watching The Odd Couple with Oscar and Felix I was very excited to see how the female version would compare if I’d recognize the nuances in character portrayal between Olive and Florence like the male counterparts. Overall, these two leads did a good job delivering these differences. I was looking for even more neurotic behavior from Florence to be dynamically opposite of Olive as a laid-back messy style to set the tone in making them truly an “odd couple.”
I appreciate the time taken for the cast to develop their New York accents and thought they did a good job even when it disappeared a bit here and there. It did not distract from the show. I appreciate how hard it is to hold an accent through tons of script if it is not your native-speaking accent.
The six women all carried their unique personalities which were clearly defined and resonated through the four scenes. It was a delight to see each one, make their character believable and realistic while not being showy. Each detail of their onstage presence was on point and added to the comedic timing. I enjoyed watching their facial expressions even when they were not involved in the dialogue. Staying in character throughout the scene and engaging with their fellow actors brought even more believability that these women were dear close friends.
Individually, Sylvie played by Sue Goodner with her mannerisms quickly became the focal point with her cigarette-toting humor. Mickey played by Sara Muir brought out her profession in body positioning and delivering cocky verbal tones. Renee played by Debbie Deverich as the jilted romantic not only looked the part, but you could sense her cynicism. Vera played by Laura Jennings was a crowd favorite with her lack of the obvious and she delivered being spacey well. Olive played by Janette Oswald set the mood with her entrance as the “boss” and Florence played by Deborah Key gave great contrast when she arrived for the Trivial Pursuit evening with her “problem” brewing. Both Manolo played by Martin Mussey and Jesus played by Jay Laengrich were a huge hit with the audience and packed a punch, comedically, when they were onstage. The troupe was a fun-spirited group and brought the show to life. Good job!
I would have liked to see, since this play was set during a HOT summer, more acting to the fact they were in an apartment on the 11th floor with A/C on the fritz. Costumes could have been more in the nature of shorts and sleeveless blouses. They needed to sell the sweltering heat a bit more to make the audience feel their discomfort. I didn’t get that they were a tad uncomfortable. While it is hard with an intimate stage to keep actors turned out to the audience it almost looked awkward with Mickey and Olive when they were seated. Fortunately, I was seated center, so it was visually good for me, however, the audience seated on the wings were moving to adjust to see from time to time. Renee was lost behind Olive for a good portion of Act one. Small tweaks will make a huge difference for your audience even if actors must get up and move around the game table periodically.
The production crew did a great job. The scene changes were nicely done, and the music was very 80s. I loved the set and it felt like a homey apartment with each prop placed appropriately and details to resemble that time frame. Colors were a huge deal in the 80s and the set had bright colors evenly spread around the set to make it visually appealing.
My issue throughout was costume choices. Vera nailed it and Renee was a close second. Again, it is a hot summer in a high-rise apartment. No one would wear elbow to long sleeves. While Olive wore a “nice” outfit for dinner which was beautiful she would have been a puddle of sweat in that costume. For even more believability the brothers, upon arrival, would have reacted to bad A/C and even taken off their jackets when they moved to the couch. I was hot just watching the three of them on the couch. Just a small tweak that will make a huge difference.
I loved the music both before and during the show and the set lighting was adequate. I saw several audience members singing along preshow.
I know as the show continues that it will get tighter with dialogue. There were awkward spots where lines got dropped or jumbled but the actors did well covering up for each other when this happened. Picking up the pace and getting out the lines quicker will shave much-needed time off the show length. Even for starting a tad late, it was long at almost 2 ½ hours. While the show held your interest throughout it was a long time to sit engaged.
The front-of-house staff was delightful from the greeting manager to the various things to see around the foyer. The nice array of goodies at the concession area was pleasing. It was a cozy experience. The playbill was colorful and contained all the information needed but I was missing pictures of the actors. I would have loved to have faces to help me identify with characters and their bio.
I loved the show and would recommend it for mostly adult audiences as a lighthearted time of laughter and fun. The audience stayed engaged throughout. I appreciate the language was sufficient to get attitudes across without being offensive. A comedy must see.
Well done cast and crew on your opening night!
The Odd Couple (female version) plays at the Richardson Theatre Center, 518 W. Arapaho Rd., Suite 113 Richardson, TX - February 10-26th, 2023 with shows Thursday at 7:30 ($20), Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm ($22) and Sunday matinee at 2 pm ($22) Groups of 8 or more receive $2 off ticket price.