Monthly Archive for: ‘October, 2015’

‘The Odd Couple’ takes up residence at Hillbarn

Oil and water don’t mix. Neither do slob and neatnik, as seen in Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple,” presented by Hillbarn Theatre.

The slob is Oscar Madison (John J. Maio), who has been divorced for several months and still lives in his large New York City apartment. The neatnik is Felix Ungar (C. Conrad Cady), whose 12-year marriage has just dissolved.

They’re poker pals who play with four other men in Oscar’s apartment every Friday. However, when the despondent Felix arrives one night and says his wife has kicked him out, Oscar invites him to stay there.

Before long, Oscar’s pig pen of an apartment has been transformed into a model of neatness, and junk food is replaced by tasty home cooking, courtesy of Felix. The flip side is that Felix is obsessively neat and clean, he’s a hypochondriac, he makes weird noises clearing his sinuses, and he’s morose. He has “a low tolerance for composure,” Oscar says.

Oscar is more easy going and sensible. In an effort to help Felix loosen up and perhaps do well himself, Oscar invites two neighbors, the Pigeon sisters — Cecily (Stephanie Crowley) and Gwendolyn (Nicole Martin) — to dinner. The results are surprising.

Although Oscar seems more sensible than Felix, Maio also shows how angry Oscar can get when he’s finally had enough of Felix’s idiosyncracies. For his part, Cady is well cast as Felix, who can’t seem to help himself, sometimes unconsciously straightening or wiping something.

Crowley and Martin make a good team as the giggly but flirty Pigeon sisters.

Oscar and Felix’s poker pals are well played by David Blackburn as Speed, Andrew Engdahl as Murray, Galen Poulton as Roy and Evan Sokol as Vinnie.

The play is set in 1965, the year it premiered. It proved so popular that it was made into a film in 1968 and became a TV series.

Director Michael Sally paces the action and the laughs well, aided by the set by Kuo-Hao Lo, lighting by Christian V. Mejia, sound by Dan Demers and costumes by Mae Matos.

The three-act play runs about two and a half hours with one intermission. It’s a fun way to spend an evening.

“The Odd Couple” continues through Nov. 1 at Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City. For tickets and information, call (650) 349-6411.

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