I had high hopes for yesterday’s opening of The Odd Couple, very high hopes, but what I wasn’t expecting was for them to be surpassed. Nor was I expecting the joyful ache in my abs after leaving the theater and having laughed so hard I’m pretty sure I popped a vein somewhere in my right eye. This show is funny and fast – a real knee-slapper (I did, in fact, slap my knee several times). The actors were so in tune to one another and thinking so quickly on their feet that the audience was left questioning whether the door in act II was actually supposed to malfunction and if the surprise handyman – fully equipped with wife beater and wooden tool kit – was really part of the show. Their comedic timing was impeccable.
When director Russell Thomas welcomed the audience at the top of the show, he exclaimed that this was one of the most solid casts he has ever seen – and he certainly wasn’t exaggerating. Zenon Campbell and Dave Boutilier as Felix and Oscar play off each other beautifully and bring their mismatched duo to hilarious life. The poker players gets the laughter rolling as soon as the lights go up on the first act (and seeing Tim Heggie as Murphy the Cop with a mustache that glorious made my entire night). I was very impressed with the (“coo-coo”) Pigeon sisters’ performance, especially hearing their great British accents, having recently attempted one myself and not pulling it of nearly as well as they did. Plus, I might make a grab for their shoes once the run is over.
Even when the play lost momentum ever so slightly in the second act, it still had the room in fits of laughter and every once in a while made the audience release a giant ‘aaww’ of sympathy.
This is a well directed, well produced and well performed comedy, perfect for the intimate recital theater. Having had the opportunity to see both productions that were part of Keyano Theater’s new Stage 2 initiative, The Vagina Monologues and now The Odd Couple, I sincerely hope that it continues next season as well. It presents community members with an opportunity to connect more intimately with the performances and it invites new and old theater visionaries to share their stories and to learn new trades, as well as deepening their knowledge. It opens the doors to a different kind of show than the main stage can offer, the kind of shows that tells the stories of this community.
The Odd Couple is playing tonight and tomorrow (Friday / Saturday) at 8 PM at the Keyano Theater.
I highly recommend that you go and see this play, it will leave you with a warm feeling in your gut and well exercised laugh muscles in your face.
Tickets can be bought at the door or by visiting Keyano Box Office website.