The Odd Couple Review – Northlight’s Rollicking Reprise of Neil Simon’s Classic
The Odd Couple opened in 1965, just as the Women’s Liberation Movement was gathering momentum as women and—if they knew what was good for them, men—were starting to re-evaluate roles, choices and relationships. Lots of women in the audience either lived that feisty time or now feel entitled to the feistiness. No surprise that Neil Simon saw and capitalized on its comic potential. So did director BJ Jones, Artistic Director of Northlight Theatre.
And the mostly-male ensemble cast “got it,” too. Marc Grapey was the incarnation of Oscar Madison. Sloppy, self-centered, inconsiderate, Grapey was so good at being Oscar you had to wonder if he was actually acting. And Tim Kazurinsky embodied the martyr/obsessive Felix Unger: the quintessential underappreciated “housewife” (married to the house!).
Yet, it was not a bit dated. Far from it. The Odd Couple is still timely, fresh. Those five poker-playing guys looked right at home to me. They joked together, insulted one another, worried about each other and cared deeply about poker. Hm. Not much has changed in forty-seven years. Even the ditsy “Coo-Coo Pigeon Sisters” weren’t such a stretch! No surprise there: The Odd Couple is timeless. The Oscar-Felix personality contrast combo is enduring, maybe the ancient yin and yang.
Northlight’s production has so much going for it:
That living room! Obviously the home of a slob who has been living alone for some time, there’s discarded clothing (Clean? Dirty? Who knows?) festooned over every piece of furniture. Since, as the poker game progressed, the guys complained of the odor, I’m thinking those clothes were dirty. The audience was happy to take that detail on faith.
The music captured the mood, the era and kept up the pace adding another layer of comic authenticity.
The props may have stolen the show. The rubber gloves and the dish brush, the hats, the can of aerosol air freshener, the smoking London broil and, last but not least, the LADLE. Don’t miss it. When was the last time you laughed at a ladle? Or a spoon?
See The Odd Couple and find your favorite moment again or for the first time!
HELD OVER! On the Northlight Theatre Stage until December 16:
The Northlight Box Office is located at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, in Skokie. Box Office hours are Monday-Friday 10:00am-5:00pm, and Saturdays 12:00pm-5:00pm. On performance days, the box office hours are extended through showtime. The Box Office is closed on Sundays, except on performance days when it is open two hours prior to showtime.
Curtain times are: Tuesdays: 7:30 pm (except November 13 and 27); Wednesdays: 1:00 pm and 7:30 pm (except November 21); Thursdays: 7:30 pm (except Thanksgiving, November 22); Fridays: 8:00 pm; Saturdays: 2:30 pm and 8:00 pm; Sundays: 2:30 pm, and 7:00 pm (except November 11, November 18, and December 9).
Northlight is continuing its popular special event series in conjunction with each production. All events are free for subscribers and ticket holders.
Community Conversations is a series of post-show discussions. Local experts join a Northlight facilitator, engaging audiences in a dialogue about the play's themes and the creative process behind live theatre. The post-show discussions for The Odd Couple will be held on Sundays, November 4 & 18 after the 2:30 performances; Tuesday, November 6after the 7:30 performance; Wednesday, November 7, after the 7:30 performance; and Wednesdays November 14& 21 after the 1:00 pm performances.
Backstage with BJ is a mid-day discussion with Artistic Director BJ Jones, featuring special guest artists, actors, directors and designers, offering behind-the-scenes insight into each production while it is still in rehearsal. Reservations are required, 847.679.9501 x3555 or [email protected].