The male psyche, warts and all
The Odd Couple
Written by Neil Simon
With Ted Chicoteau and Peter Cranitch
New Farm Nash Theatre, Brisbane
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 8pm
Until November 28
Review by Lynda Hansen
The Odd Couple explores the relationship between two good friends, Oscar Madison (Ted Chicoteau) and Felix Ungar (Peter Cranitch).
In the first scene, the audience witnesses Oscar's regular Friday night poker game. The apartment is a chaotic, flea-bitten disaster reflecting Oscar's demeanour. Concern is raised when Felix is running late for the game.
Eventually Felix arrives with news of his impending divorce from his wife of 12 years, Frances. His pathetic suicide attempt in Oscar's bathroom sets the tone as two single men try to make some sense of their lives.
Speed (Peter Donato), one of the poker buddies, takes the cake with his whining New York accent and elastic facial expressions. The slapstick humour the play relies on sometimes loses its pace.
Opening night jitters probably explain the occasional stumble over a dialogue that moves at break-neck speed. The classic "London broil" scene is hilarious. The neurotic state Felix works himself into leaves you hoping he will never invite you to dinner.
The play provides a window into the lives of two men whose marriages have fallen apart because their wives refuse to put up with their insufferable spouses. The old saying "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone" rings true, when Felix and Oscar realise they took their relationships for granted.
The production explores the male psyche, warts and all, and shows how individuals choose their own path when the chips are down. The Odd Couple offers heaps of laughs but also examines the loneliness of divorcees and their attempt to rebuild their lives.