by Grace Eichler –
Well, we’re back! Covedale Center for the Performing Arts kicks off its Marquee Season with Neil Simon’s 1965 Tony Award winning comedy “The Odd Couple.” Oscar Madison, a divorcé, decides to welcome in newly separated Felix Ungar as his roommate. One’s a neat freak, one’s a slob, comedy ensues.
Director Greg Procaccino creates a sense of urgency throughout the opening scene, where Oscar and his poker buddies are a delight with their banter and specific personality quirks. After Felix’s distraught entrance, the group rallies around him with varying degrees of sympathy. Getting past some of the more dated lines in the script, it develops into an interesting look at two bachelors cooped up together (quarantine flashbacks, anyone?).
Jeremiah Plessinger’s Oscar commands the show and keeps the pace lively with a Nathan Lane-esque cadence. Juxtaposed with Eric Kilpatrick’s seemingly always flustered Felix, the “odd couple” holds up the backbone of the cast, but the ensemble fleshes out the humor. Scene changes are tackled by the poker guys and keep the laughs rolling. Just when you get a little wary of the chauvinism, Neil Simon introduces two neighbors, bringing a different, refreshing set of giggles from the Pigeon sisters (Lesley Taylor and Kate Stark).
For the first indoor production after some time, it’s worth commending the Covedale for their ability to jump back into it. The technical aspects were executed to perfection, with no hiccups in sound or lighting. Also worth noting, CLP has mandated the wearing of masks for all patrons during the run of this production, regardless of vaccination status. Believe me, though, it’s worth it to be able to enjoy live theatre again!
“The Odd Couple” runs September 16 – October 10 at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available at 513-241-6550 or cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com
Grace Eichler is a Miami alum where she was president of Stage Left student theatre and a mainstage performer. She is also a dentist, a plant lover, and a foodie. She honed her theatre critic chops in Cappies, and has been a guest LCT reviewer for a number of years.