Arts and Entertainment

'The Odd Couple': Another big hit for director McLaglen in presentation of classic comedy

Top photo, Oscar Madison (George Iliff) tries to comfort his newly-divorced friend, Felix Unger (Bo Turnage), in the San Juan Community Theatre production of
Top photo, Oscar Madison (George Iliff) tries to comfort his newly-divorced friend, Felix Unger (Bo Turnage), in the San Juan Community Theatre production of 'The Odd Couple.' Bottom photo, Madison and his poker buddies debate Unger's fate.
— image credit: Richard Walker

Thanks to director Andrew V. McLaglen, a marvelous array of local talent and the great theater our community has generously established, we now have a boffo performance of a play by the most successful playwright in American theatrical history, Neil Simon.

I kid you not: Our local performance of “The Odd Couple” excels the show I saw on the stage when it won all those Tonys, the great movie starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, the long-running TV comedy series, and, of course, the ABC cartoon series. Theater, anywhere, anytime, doesn’t get any better than this.

What a trouper, that McLaglen. He not only hones down the 3 act/2 scenes to a swiftly moving 2 acts/2 scenes. but he goes out on the club circuit during the day with Oscar (George Iliff) and Felix (Bo Turnage) to drum up patronage. All those people who saw them at the Lions and other clubs and at the senior center will not be disappointed.

Now this review is based on last Friday’s sneak preview. Sneak previews and dress rehearsals ordinarily will have a few glitches. We saw only two. The painting by the telephone was not hung securely and it fell off the wall as the phone was answered. It was smoothly replaced without interruption.

Later, while the poker club was waiting for a critical phone call during an emotional discussion about Felix’s despondent situation, there was a long silence.

“RING-G-G!” Felix vocalized clearly. (The crew had forgot to ring the phone). It was a blooper, but done with such perfect timing that even Felix had to smile as the audience cracked up. He didn’t smile again until the climax of the play as it ended.

Don’t let that little glitch bother you. It was a hilarious show. The Pigeon Sisters (Juliet Flint as Gwendolyn and Kaitlyn Johnson as Cecily) were superb. Poker buddies Warren Baehr as Roy, Chuck Harwood as Speed, Keith Keyser as Vinnie and Dorian Oliver reminded me of all the poker games I played starting in high school when Harry Foulks’ dad had a funeral home and he had us over to cheer him up as he guarded over their temporary guests when mom and dad went out of Omaha for a pickup.

The Crew, who made it all come together from pre-Felix early American cobweb decor to neat and tidy post-Felix spic and span, deserve full kudos too (if they ring that phone on time). They are: Nan Abel (rehearsal secretary), Kim Burns (costume dresser), Keith Busha (set and lights), Patty Francisco (assistant stage manager), Holly Harbers (rehearsal secretary and set painter, Vanessa Johnson (light board), Sandy Killion (costume design), Lynn McPherson (scenic art), Charlie O’Neil (set dresser), Lutie Park (assistant stage manager), Ellen Roberts (stage manager of all these people), Ted Soares (props), and Hollie Swanson (sound board).

And again, an encore kudo for George Iliff and Bo Turnage, who did Oscar and Felix as good as it gets.

You’ve got seven more chances to see this one: Thursday through Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 16-17, 7:30 p.m.

Go (and I mean GO!) with the F.L.O.W. (Ferry Lovers Of Washington).

— Contact Howard Schonberger at 378-5696 or hschonberger@sanjuanjournal.com

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