by Cindy Killavey
The Odd Couple by Neil Simon, The Arctic Playhouse, 117 Washington Street, West Warwick, RI through September 17
Oscar Madison and his card-playing cronies learn that Felix Unger is missing after his wife ends their 12 year marriage. When Felix arrives on the scene the friends try to cheer him up to no avail.. In the end, Oscar, who isn’t phased by clutter, insists Felix, “Mr. Clean”, stay with him. Oscar learns to regret this decision to the delight of the opening night crowd.
The card players include Tony Annicone as Speed; Anthony Capraro as Vinnie; J.P. McCormick as Murray and Bob Mignarri as Roy. This ensemble seamlessly trades barbs and witty dialogue and their reactions to Felix, crying in the bathroom and the mayhem when they think that he has swallowed a whole bottle of pills, draws hearty laughter from the audience. The stage at this black box theater is intimate and directors John Faiola and Geoff Monti used some creative blocking for the several “chases” in the performance which the cast handled perfectly. Set changes were handled by the card players between the acts, another clever Directorial choice.
Henryce “Hen” Zannini and Denise Izzi are Gwendolyn and Cecily Pigeon These English “birds of a feather” are extremely entertaining. The way they interact with each other would have you believing they really are sisters.
It’s easy to see that Fred Davidson (Oscar) and John Faiola (who wears two hats as Director and as Felix) have performed in these roles before. The chemistry between the two is palpable. Oscar’s eye rolls and bluster are a perfect foil for Felix’s mobile face and gestures. John’s ladle work is priceless. When Felix turns what Oscar had hoped would be a romantic evening with the Pigeon sisters into a group sob fest, it’s the last straw.
Co-Director and first time Stage Manager Geoffrey Monti keeps things running smoothly throughout and the music choices are perfect.
For a wonderful evening of terrific theater, laugh-out-loud humor and delicious popcorn & cookies, don’t miss this show. Call for reservations as several performances are already sold out!!