by Curtis J Phillips
Jack Lemmon as Felix and Walter Matthau as Oscar.
Tony Randall as Felix and Jack Klugman as Oscar.
These are the two versions, the first a 1968 movie and the second a popular 1970s’ TV series, that many people envision when thinking of The Odd Couple.
But in reality, The Odd Couple was originally a Neil Simon comedy play which debuted 1965 on Broadway with the plot following polar opposite roommates. The spick-and-span neurotic and germaphobic Felix Ungar and the dishevelled laid back Oscar Madison. Both trying to get a long in a New York apartment.
As part of Keyano College Theatre and Arts Centre’s Stage 2, which “gives community theatre performers, playwrights, and directors the opportunity to showcase their talents.”, The Odd Couple, directed by Russell Thomas, will be showcased at Keyano College’s Recital Theatre May 14-16, 2015.
It will wrap up a successful inaugural season of Stage 2 which showcased local talent in four other plays which kicked off with The Vagina Monologues in November 2014 and was followed by McCracklin: The Whackining; Never Let The Crew See You Cry and The Bomb-itty of Errors.
Thomas, well-known for his local onstage performances, returns to the director’s chair after a 20-year absence.
“It took a few days to get back in rhythm of being a director,” said Thomas, who coincidently also directed The Odd Couple in Stettler, Alberta back in the early 1990s. “It has been fun working with the cast (six males, two females) and seeing them absorb the notes. It has been a joy to do.”
In a play that requires “physical comedy” the role of Felix was landed by Zeon Campbell.
Be it his Keyano Theatre roles in the classic French farce Boeing Boeing or the musical drama Cabaret, Campbell, as previously written, “knocked it out of the ballpark with energy and confidence.”
Will be interesting to see the chemistry between Campbell and Dave Boutilier in the role of Oscar.
Boutilier you may remember, played Herr Schultz, the widowed Jewish fruit shop owner in Cabaret.
Thomas said Campbell and Boutilier have meshed talents previously when they performed in the Norm Foster one act comedy Louis and Dave.
“There is a trust between the two of them and the contrast of the characters,” added Russell. “We hit a homerun with the entire cast…it is incredible and well-balanced.”
Russell classified The Odd Couple as a “family friendly comedy” and that patrons “will get an essence of the characters which is a beautiful thing” and that it will “be fun for them to come out and laugh.”
For more info or tickets 780-791-4990.