THE ODD COUPLEby Neil Simon
Director – Seth Johnston
Set Design – David Hance
Sound Design – Cameron Modrich
Costume Design – Erika Durham
Stage Manager – Kelly Norman
CAST (in order of appearance)
Speed – Jonathan Russell
Murray – David Willie
Roy – Greg Kozakis
Vinnie – John Grissom
Oscar Madison – Guy Seter
Felix Unger – Matt Adams
Gwendolyn Pigeon – Erynn Michelle
Cecily Pigeon – Amanda Raeson
Reviewed Performance: 4/11/2015
Reviewed by Jeremy William Osborne, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
In the words of the author, The Odd Couple is “Two men–one divorced and one estranged and neither quite sure why their marriages fell apart–move in together to save money for alimony and suddenly discover they’re having the same conflicts and fights they had in their marriages.” The show is critically acclaimed as one of the best written American comedies ever. Holding to the high standard of quality shows Runway Theatre produces, their presentation of The Odd Couple is copacetic.
A nice New York apartment adorns the stage with canary yellow walls evocative of the 1960s time frame. The audience is told there are eight rooms to the apartment but we only see one, the living room, and catch glimpses of a bathroom and the kitchen. A hallway leads to other rooms with a window on the upstage wall. There is also a door to the exterior hallway. The set has great roominess for actor movement and variable traffic lines. Often, while Felix and Oscar are arguing, they use both entrances to the kitchen so Oscar can cut off Felix's escape.
Erika Durham's costume design is the best technical element of the show. The costumes are not only appropriate for the time and character, but there are also multiple changes for each actor. Somehow, through all the changes, each character maintains its own personal style. The fastidious Felix is always in slacks and a well-pressed oxford shirt. With the exception of his date with one of the Pigeon sisters, Oscar is always in an unbuttoned shirt with a tank top underneath. However, I question the decision to allow him a goatee. It's not period appropriate for the 1960s and added a bit of ambiguousness to the time period in which the play is set. Speed always appears in a disheveled oxford shirt with rolled sleeves. This kind of attention to detail and consistency greatly adds to the caliber of the show.
Acting in this production is overall adroit. The guys in the poker game demonstrate excellent adlibbed background noise talking. The Pigeon sisters are effervescent and fun loving to a silly extreme but it adds to the scene in which they appear.
Played by Erynn Michelle and Amanda Raeson, The Pigeon sisters are a fun pair with infectious giggling. Michelle and Raeson keep up the energy well and make the wonderful transition from flirtatious bawdiness to sincere, empathetic weeping with Felix look easy. The accents employed by these two are nice but have the over-articulating sound of someone hoping not to slip. However, the pair is wonderfully suited for their parts.
The poker boys, Speed, Murray, Roy and Vinnie, are an excellent representation of an assemblage of common guys. They all have their great one-liners. David Willie as Murray the cop, and John Grissom as Vinnie, stand out with their lovable goofiness. Grissom gives a great air of innocence to Vinnie as he talks about his upcoming vacation to Florida or the delicious sandwich Felix makes him. Willie portrays a more astute individual as Murray, however, he can also swing into wild-eyed panic or simple fascination for comedic purpose easily.
Greg Kozakis and Jonathan Russell, as Roy and Speed, are good for filling their roles. Unfortunately, there isn't much given to their characters to stand out. Russell's size and his personality helps him give Speed's sarcastic bullying some significance. Meanwhile, Kozakis, even with a couple of small speeches, just gets lost in the shuffle. He does well in meeting the requirement of the role but doesn't present anything memorable.
Persnickety Felix Unger is played by Matt Adams quite nicely. Whether intentional or not, the slightly effeminate quality Adams adds to the character is a fabulous piece of work. He makes Felix sympathetic but just annoying enough to also give Oscar's aggravations merit. It is a fine line that Adams navigates expertly.
Guy Seter brings the slovenly Oscar Madison to life. He plays Oscar as coarse and loud when necessary but can transition to caring and decent easily and naturally. Seter's performance is a great pairing with Adams. The two work off each other exceptionally well, especially in the third act as they argue and later make up.
The Odd Couple at Runway Theatre is a fun night of theatre . The action is well paced and the jokes . I recommend seeing it.
215 North Dooley Street
Grapevine, TX 76051
Runs through April 26th
Friday-Saturday at 8:00 pm and Sunday at 3:00 pm
Tickets are $15.00 and $12.00 for seniors (60+) and students.
For tickets and information, go to http://www.runwaytheatre.com or call their box office at (817) 488-4842.