A Night Out with the Girls You Won’t Forget! THE ODD COUPLE – FEMALE VERSION at Colonial Playhouse

by Lisa Panzer

Colonial Playhouse’s THE ODD COUPLE – FEMALE VERSION, under the direction of Kathy Quinn, is chock full of comedy and quips. The opening scene draws the audience into the world of Olive Madison (played by Sam Barrett) with the effervescent interplay of the cast of ladies (Sharon A. Daws as Vera, Erin Marie Friel as Renee, Kathryn Leech as Mickey and Diane Lowenthal as Sylvie) playing Trivial pursuit during ‘girl’s night out’ at Olive’s place. Here the excellent comedic timing starts right out of the gate with the first lines, and continues at a gallop throughout the show, making this feminized rendition of THE ODD COUPLE a success.

Faith Yesner of Media (l.) and Sam Barrett of Ardmore (r.) star in Colonial Playhouse's production of THE ODD COUPLE - FEMALE VERSION running in Aldan, PA through January 22.

Olive, recently separated from her husband, is a mess, serves stale potato chips and old sandwiches on ‘girl’s night out’, keeps an untidy apartment, but her world is consistent. Add neurotically neat, hypochondriac Florence Unger (well played by Faith Yesner), seemingly suicidal with upset by the end of her 14 year marriage to this mix and you get … Chaos and comedy. Neil Simon wrote this gender flipped version of the Odd Couple in 1985, along the same basic plot line as the original. Olive takes Florence in to live with her after Florence’s husband can’t stand her obsessive neatness and nervous ills, but, just like Florence’s husband, can’t take all the cooking, cleaning and health tips (same as when Oscar took Felix in).

Olive decides that they both could use some male companionship soon after Florence nags her about coming home late one night. Instead of the Pigeon sisters of the original, enter the Costazuela brothers from Spain, Manolo Costazuela (JP Timlin) and Jesus Costazuela (Jack Kramer); two wild and crazy guys! Olive leaves the brothers alone with Florence for a bit to fetch some cocktails, only to come back to witness all three in tears. Florence strikes again! Their date ultimately ruined, Olive, like Oscar in the male version, has had all she can take, declaring “I can’t even have a dirty dream. You come and clean it up.” Florence is booted out of the apartment, only to discover her inner floozie.

Sam Barrett balances her portrayal of Olive with tom-boyishness and femininity, her lines hitting the target every time. Faith Yesner’s Florence is quite convincing as being an utterly annoying uber clean housewife; very well played, great body language and facial expression. The tension between these two is well developed, as is the interaction between the other cast members. JP Timlin and Jack Kramer as Manolo and Jesus Costazuela are original and hilarious, but also memorable as their brotherly story manages to move the audience. (Oh, and check out their costume changes). Sharon A. Daws is adorable as ‘frumpy’ Vera, Erin Marie Friel is cool and hip as Julia, Kathryn Leech’s portrayal of Mickey the cop is hilarious, and Diane Lowenthal spews some great zingers as Sylvie. Each of these witty women is wonderfully distinctive in character, and in their costume choices. The set (Ron Clarkson) is simple, yet diverse. The apartment’s kitchen is a small walled off area at the back of the stage with a open ‘service’ window, giving the overall set a sense depth. The stage right window contains only the suggestion of a city skyline, but lights (Lighting – Ron Hill) come through at intervals lending the subtle effect of cars and such passing by below. Music choices and sound (Kathy Quinn) fit the script well, adding to the story, and the technical aspects of show (Stage Manager – Julia Camacho and Assistant Director – Erin Guard) went quite smoothly for opening night. Kudos to all involved!

For a good time with the girls call Colonial Playhouse at 610-622-5773!

by Neil Simon
Directed by Kathy Quinn
January 7 – 22, 2011
Colonial Playhouse
522 W. Magnolia Ave.
Aldan, PA 19018-0091

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