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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Odd Couple Shines at Theater J

Just back from opening night of The Odd Couple at Theater J. They've made the very wise decision of drafting Rick Foucheux as a company member this year, and it immediately paid dividends with Something You Did and even moreso with The Odd Couple. This is one funny play, and Foucheux gets the ornery/lovable Oscar Madison pretty much right. (My Mom recalls seeing the original Odd Couple on Broadway with Art Carney and Walter Matthau, and says she never laughed so hard as in the opening poker scene.) The scene here lives up to expectations as the six actors in this production do a terrific job - just watching Delaney Williams shuffle the deck is fun. Is it still a great play? It's a very good play. The TV show has become so entrenched in at least my mind, that it is hard to tell where one stops and the other starts. Tony Randall (TV's Felix) was an incredible actor - as nauseating as Felix was, you still felt for him. It's harder to say that here, escpecially with J. Fred Shiffman. I'm not sure he makes the part his own. But is that the script? I'm not sure. So I don't know if we care as much as we should later on. An early scene showing the other four poker players coming back in to check on Felix tells me that a little more warmth might be in the script. But this is a small criticism. Nothing wrong with a thoroughly entertaining show these days from a terrific company. Kudos to director Jerry Whiddon. Go see it - there are plenty of half-price deals out there.

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