Printable CopyTHE ODD COUPLE
Blackwood Players Inc
Blackwood 21 (Blackwood Memorial Hall)
Until 22 Jun 2019

Review by Luke Wagner

The classic trope of worlds colliding is one that always manages to create great comedic fodder. This is absolutely on display in Blackwood’s production of “The Odd Couple – The Female Version” in a show that delivers the goods.

Olive Madison is a laid back sports writer who lives according to her own schedule and doesn’t mind living with some mess. Her life takes a hit when her friend Florence Unger – an uptight, neurotic clean freak whose husband has kicked her out – moves in with her. Whilst Olive at first enjoys a housemate she soon finds Florence’s over-the-top obsessive behaviours to drive her nuts. Things escalate when the girls invite the Spanish brothers from upstairs to come for a dinner date. What is meant to be a fun evening soon turns into a disastrous night where Florence’s odd tendencies are on full display.

The cast did a great job to bring to life these characters. Amy Neumann is strong in the pivotal role of Olive Madison. Neumann has excellent comedic timing and isn’t afraid to dive head first into being goofy and cheesy. It works very well. Rebecca Gardener balanced well as the uptight Florence Unger. Gardener was fun and played up to her characters quirks. The ensemble of Olive and Florence’s friends were entertaining to watch. Kate Anolak as Sylvie, Esther Michelsen as Renee, Janet Jauncey as Mickey and Dawn Ross as Vera look iconically 80s and played up their roles to good humour. A few of the ensemble needed to work on projection as it was particularly difficult to hear some of them during the first half of act one. Joshua Kerr as Jesus and Luke Abraham as Monolo were hilarious as the Spanish brothers from upstairs who came to date the girls. Both of them were hilarious and created some hilarious moments.

Stephanie Gonelli has directed a very effective production. The characters were well balanced and all came across effectively and the production made good use of physical humour too.

Technically, there were some issues with sound effects early on, and a radio that was drowning the already quiet dialogue onstage – but these got tighter through act two. The set design and construction was real highlight to this production. The apartment in New York looked brilliant and was dressed in furniture that definitely placed it firmly in the 80s, from the mission brown furniture to the corded telephone. The attention to detail was great and really filled the enormous Memorial Hall Stage.

This show had some moments where pace dropped, but this will naturally pick up over the six-show run. Blackwood have put together great show that was filled with well-rounded characters and fun iconic story with a great twist having the strong female-led cast. This show is worth braving the cold for.