Prince George’s Little Theatre The Odd Couple (Female Version)By Betsy Marks Delaney • Dec 15th, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Prince George’s Little Theatre
Bowie Playhouse, Bowie, MD
Through December 19th
2:20 with one intermission
$19/$14 Seniors, 18 and under
Reviewed December 12th, 2010
It would be difficult to find someone these days who doesn’t have some idea of what The Odd Couple means in reference to the stage play, movie or tv show of the ’60s. Neil Simon’s tale of two men of a certain age, who wind up as an unlikely pair of roommates, premiered in 1965 and led to a successful five-year television run in the ’70s. The theme has an ageless quality to it. I think all of us, at some point, have found at least one person who is our exact opposite in every way. How we choose to deal with those differences, and what happens when the situation becomes intolerable, is the stuff of which comedy is often made.
In 1985, Simon revised and revived the show, converting all the male roles to female and the two female roles to male. In place of Oscar and Felix, we now have Olive (Meg Nemeth) as the slovenly sportscaster and Florence (Erica Smith) as the newly separated, highly fastidious wife in search of a temporary home while she sorts out her situation. In place of the cigar-smoking poker buddies, we now have acerbic pen-chewing reformed smoker Sylvie (Pamela Northrup), world-wise beat cop Mickey (Kecia Campbell), high strung Vera (Gayle Carney) and dry-witted Renee (Amy Purves), six friends who meet weekly to play Trivial Pursuit and dish on everything in their lives.
Aside from the interesting male-female transposition and how that one change affects the relationships and discussion topics between these friends, the key to this show – what makes it worth seeing again – is the performances Nemeth and Smith give as they attempt to come to terms with each other’s personalities. These talented actresses embody their roles, not just giving line readings, and the results are totally over the top hysterical.
Conflict is everything and there’s plenty to go around, between the superficial changes in living situation to the increasingly funny changes in each of these actresses as they both strive to express their personalities. The action starts a bit slowly, but it builds fairly fast and by the time reach the crescendo of the play, in which an increasingly frustrated Olive makes an attempt at drawing her erstwhile roomy out into a social atmosphere by inviting the upstairs neighbors, the Spanish-born Costazuela brothers, Manolo (Michael Nemeth) and Jesus (Kristofer Northrup), down to dinner, the results become drop dead hilarious. With misunderstandings piled on through the language barrier, the show becomes a total laugh riot.
Director Jeffery Lesniak has done his job well, both as director and as set designer, with clean, simple lines. Roy Peterson’s set decoration and Garrett Hyde’s lighting really work to complete the space (even when disguised by Olive’s faint attempts at housekeeping). Lesniak’s sound design helps set the time period – the mid ’80s.
Cast (in order of appearance):
- Sylvie: Pamela Northrup
- Mickey: Kecia Campbell
- Renee: Amy Purves
- Vera: Gayle Carney
- Olive Madison: Meg Nemeth
- Florence Unger: Erica Smith
- Manolo Costazuela: Michael Nemeth
- Jesus Costazuela: Kristofer Northrup
- Director: Jeffery Lesniak
- Producer: Roy Peterson
- Stage Manager: Ken Kienas
- Set Design: Jeffery Lesniak
- Set Construction/Master Carpenter: Patrick Ready
- Set Painting Design, Set Decoration/Dressing Design: Roy Peterson
- Lighting Design: Garrett Hyde
- Sound Design: Jeffery Lesniak
- Properties Design: Vikki Lesniak
- Costume Coordination: The Cast
- Bowie Playhouse Theatre Technicians: Al Chopey, Pete Dursin, Garrett Hyde
- Transportation Chief: Keith Brown
- House Manager, Playbill Design, Lobby Display: Roy Peterson
- Box Office Manager: Sarah Potter Robbins
- Box Office Assistant: Richard Robbins
- Ticket Takers/Ushers: Members and Friends of PGLT
- Publicity: Jenna Jones, Roy Peterson, Linda Smith
- Web Site: Kristofer Northrup, Pamela Northrup
- Photography: Ron Wilder
- Program Cover/Publicity Artwork: Michele Stinson
Disclaimer: Prince George’s Little Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/6003.
Betsy Marks Delaney is founder and Artistic Director of OutOftheBlackBox Theatre Company (O2B2) and General Manager of the Greenbelt Arts Center. Since 2006 Betsy has worked as a director, producer, designer and more. Betsy has also worked with Washington Revels, Arena Stage, the now-defunct Harlequin Dinner Theatre and with community theatre companies both in Maryland and in upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Theatre from SUNY New Paltz. Through Hawkeswood Productions, Betsy produces archival performance videos and YouTube highlight spots.