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The Odd Couple- A Perfect Pair

Reviewer: Kristine Gotham

Venue: Bay City Players

Bay City Players continues its 106th season with a production of Neil Simon’s, The Odd Couple.  Jon Zdrojewski portrays Oscar Madison and Cameron Pichan, Felix Unger. The two men, while best friends, could not be more different.  Oscar, a sportswriter by trade, is a slob who loves smoking cigars, eating junk food and hanging out with his poker buddies.  Felix is a neat freak almost to the point of obsession/compulsion, a non-smoker who seeks to keep the air clean, and frugal with his money.  Oscar has been divorced from his wife, Blanche, for quite some time.  Felix is unexpectedly separated from his wife, Francis.  Felix suddenly finds himself homeless and feeling like it would be better to end it all.  Oscar steps in and saves Felix by inviting him to move into the eight room apartment he used to share with his wife and children.  Felix is grateful and immediately begins to clean up the apartment and help Oscar live a more frugal life.  The honeymoon is short lived however. Felix’s fastidiousness and obsession about timeliness and frugality grates on Oscar’s nerves and before long Oscar is telling Felix that he has to get out, immediately.  Felix leaves, telling Oscar that he will send someone for his things.  After Felix leaves, Oscar begins to feel guilty.  Where will Felix go?  What will he do?  Felix returns to the apartment to gather his things and the two friends reconcile.  They recognize that while they are friends they are not cut out to be roommates.  They agree that it is best that they do not live together but they will always be best friends.

Coming along on the journey with Oscar and Felix are a cast of characters including poker buddies, Speed (Jacob Jones), Murray (Justin Radlinski), Roy (Paul Oslund) and Vinnie (Tim Maughtew).  These four friends offer advice and counsel to the mismatched roommates.  Upstairs from Oscar’s apartment are the flighty Pigeon sisters, Gwnedolyn (Liberty Starkweather Smith) and Cecily (Kennedy Danner), respectively.  The sisters provide Oscar and Felix with some social interaction and offer Felix a place to stay and emotional support when Oscar asks him to leave.  Together, the eight characters, move through life’s challenges with a depth of emotion, humor and compassion.

Gordon Levine’s direction, with the assistance of Megan Douglass (Assistant Director), brings out the best in each actor.  Each character is larger than life, while also portraying a reality that would lead one to think, I know someone just like that!  

Tamara Patterson’s costuming helps to provide a realistic look to the characters.  From Oscar’s plaid suit coat that he dons for a date with the Pigeon Sisters, to the short mini dresses worn by the sisters, one is transported back to the fashion scene of the mid 1960’s.  

The set design and decoration are reminiscent of a NY apartment in the 1960’s.  From the green printed wallpaper, to the golden amber pendant lights, to the bake lite phone and the serving trays, every detail helps to create a realistic world in which the characters reside.

For those who remember the TV series, you will find yourself remembering those evenings of watching at home.  For those new to this show, you will find humor and characters that you can relate to as you watch.  The Odd Couple runs at Bay City Players, February 23-25 and March 1-3, 2024.  Call the Box Office for tickets.

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