Neil Simon’s comedy "The Odd Couple," directed by Bill Kincaid, is the final production of this summer’s season at the Brown County Playhouse. Once again a pair of men from opposite ends of the domesticity spectrum are living together. Oscar Madison the super slob sports writer and Felix Ungar the ultra neat journalist are sharing the woes of the break ups of their marriages and the comedy of their wildly different life styles. Walter Mathau and Jack Lemon in the movie, Jack Klugman and Tony Randall on television, now Rob Johansen and Charles Goad on stage.
A lot has changed in the world since the "The Odd Couple"’s opening in 1965. Male roles in career styles, parenting and, yes, even house keeping have considerably broadened. Many of the basic gags have lost most of their steam. I mean, after you’ve seen "La Cage Aux Folles," a man using a vacuum cleaner is not inherently funny. However, I’m happy to say that the basic notion of a couple of opposites grinding away at one another until an explosion happens and a positive reconciliation occurs still works.
Rob Johansen was masterful as the beleaguered slob, Oscar. His careful build to Oscar’s final madness and then acceptance was very funny and even touching at times. Charles Goad was a bit wimpier and more of a pouting crybaby in his role as Felix, but kept a balance. Carmen Rae Meyers and Emily Lowder Wooten were bright spots as the giddily empty headed Pigeon sisters. The poker players, S.G.Stratigos, Dave Cole, Jonathan Molitor and Phil Kasper are not quite in sync yet, but made a pleasantly varied group buddies.
Mark Frederic Smith’s set does the job nicely as a functional and appropriately dour New York apartment. Part of the fun of "The Odd Couple" is watching the crew clean up the months of Oscar’s mess from the first act in preparation for the neat look that Felix is supposed to have wrought in the second. It took four or five people, working every minute, a map and a set of neatly numbered boxes to get the place picked up.
The Brown County Playhouse production of Neil Simon’s durable comedy "The Odd Couple" plays Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at eight through October 23rd.