Review by Peter Burdon
AFTER 50 years, and more than a few revisions, Neil Simon’s famous play The Odd Couple continues to please, even if the jokes are a bit hoary these days.
The Rep is giving Simon’s 2002 version (retitled Oscar & Felix for some unaccountable reason) an outing, where Oscar is a bit more grouchy than slovenly and Felix a bit more neurotic than perfectionist.
Peter Rossi as Oscar and Patrick Gibson as Felix.
To those who grew up on the celebrated TV series, or know the movie, it’s something of “the shock of the new”.
The punchlines that made the original so great are largely gone, or buried in the often self-conscious updating.
But such humbuggery is really the province of Walter Matthau’s Oscar. What matters is the two characters in the central roles.
Peter Rossi is an entertaining, almost bumptious Oscar, looking quite the early noughties part in strategically ripped denim, while Patrick Gibson is a deadpan Felix, which only serves to magnify the absurdity of it all.
Director Brian Knott extracts good performances not only from the leads but from the supporting coterie of card players, even if there are more American accents than people on stage in more than a few scenes.
After a pretty stellar year with two very substantial pieces, The Elephant Man and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Oscar & Felix is a lightweight affair. It’s one for the faithful.