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February 6, 2007 > Mismatched duo perfectly suited for laughs

Mismatched duo perfectly suited for laughs

By Julie Grabowski

The polar opposite friends of Neil Simon's renowned "The Odd Couple" give the 28th season of the Douglas Morrisson Theatre a boisterous launch. Director Lucian Vinci presides over the hilarious story of two impossible men colliding under one roof with friendship and sanity on the line.

A group of poker buddies are assembled in the spacious wreck of Oscar Madison's New York City apartment wondering about the tardy Felix Unger. When they learn he has just separated from his wife, they worry their emotional friend might commit suicide, and while trying to be cool employ an overdose of preventative measures. Having experienced a recent divorce of his own, Oscar attempts to console and buck up the overwrought Felix. While he identifies Felix as having "a low threshold for composure," and "the only man in the world with clenched hair," Oscar offers him a place in his home, setting the stage for a clash of habits and personalities.

John Maio gets all the best lines as the sloppy, irresponsible, devil-may-care Oscar and delivers every one to perfection. He wears the role with ease and aplomb and is a constant delight. Laurie DeSeguirant has no trouble keeping up with his counterpart; his uptight, meticulous, and emotional Felix a winning match to the powder keg. The four poker buddies are a firm support, and Emilie Frybarger and Kelly Ball offer a nice breeze as the giggly Pigeon sisters, despite the poor accents of their supposedly British nationality. The actors form a harmonious unit that is enormously fun to watch; it isn't difficult to be pleased with such a loud and rambunctious world.

The background of the play is as well done as the performance. George Ledo has created an impressive and greatly appealing apartment, so much so that you find yourself wondering at the cost of rent and where you might find a place like it. The music is another great feature, with songs like "What's New Pussycat," "Downtown," "My Girl," and "Same Old Song," floating over the stage, along with a healthy dose of Frank Sinatra.

Sharp and witty with nary a dull moment, "The Odd Couple" is sure to put laughter in your mouth and lift any doldrums that might be weighing you down.

Performances run February 2-18, Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors 50 and over, $15 for students 18 and over with I.D., and $12 for juniors under 18. Tickets and further information are available during box office hours, Tuesday through Friday from 12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. and one hour before showtime. Call (510) 881-6777 or visit www.dmtonline.org.

The Odd Couple
February 2-February 18
Thursday-Saturday 8 p.m., Sundays 2 p.m.
Douglas Morrisson Theatre
22311 North Third Street, Hayward
(510) 881-6777
Adults: $20, Seniors: $18, Students: $15, Juniors: $12

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