Olive And Florence Produce Laughs In THE ODD COUPLE (Female Version) at Playcrafters

by Arnie Finkel

(L to R:) Christina Zick, Evangeline Martinez, Margo Weishar O’Moore, Allison Deratzian, Carol Robertson in a scene from Playcrafters of Skippack's THE ODD COUPLE (FEMALE VERSION) running through October 1.

Neil Simon wrote THE ODD COUPLE in two versions-one with male leads, one with female. Oscar and Felix give way to Olive and Florence in the version being produced by Playcrafters of Skippack.  Simon lost nothing of the bite, the plot and the typical one-liners he is famous for in the gender switch.

Olive (played with great relish by Margo Weishar O’Moore) is the same lovable slob that Oscar was.  Florence (played with just the right amount of fastidiousness and tension by Tessa Raum) is just as annoying and overbearing as Felix was.  The two of them shoot fire at each other to the utter delight of the audience.  They play off each other expertly.   Ms. Raum is new to Playcrafters and her slight English accent (she is a native of Britain) added to her performance.  Ms O’Moore has shone as the director of last year’s DOUBT and will be directing Oscar Wilde’s AN IDEAL HUSBAND in the 2012 season.  She is, indeed, a double talent.

Director Marianne Green is blessed with a talented cast.  She kept the laughs coming at just the right pace.  She has given each of the supporting players a fully realized characterization.

The poker game of the male version gives way to a hot game of Trivial Pursuit in the female rendition.  Allison Deratzian as Renee the athletic member of the gang is her competent self and very effective.  Evangeline Martinez is totally convincing as Mickey the tough cop.  Sylvie as played by Carol Robertson delivers Simon’s one-liners with just the right wry twist.

I cannot get over the comic talents of Christina Zick.  I’ve seen her create a huge laughs in every role she plays.  Her take on the not-overly-bright Vera, had a special voice and walk and was hilarious.

As the sexy upstairs Latin neighbors, Jesus and Manolo Costazuela, Mike Raimomdo and Mark Ayers added much to the merriment.  Their accents and their reactions were near perfect.

(L to R:) Tessa Raum, Mark Ayers, Mike Raimondo and Margo Weishar O’Moore in a scene from THE ODD COUPLE (FEMALE VERSION) at Playcrafters of Skippack.

Bob Shindle designed a set that I could easily live in.  The depth and the levels were the perfect setting for the cast to feel at home in.  Stage Manager Courtney Katz and her crew (Sally Cojocariu, Joan Johnson and Pat Christoforetti) expertly managed the scene changes including a complete makeover of the set during the intermission.

Add in the costumes by Lisa Getzler-Linn, and the lighting and particularly appropriate sound design by Don Green, and producers Ed and Ann Rutter have a laugh-filled success to be proud of.

by Neil Simon
Directed by Marianne Green
September 15-October 1, 2011
Playcrafters of Skippack
2011 Store Rd.
Skippack PA

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