Monday, December 24, 2012


Chelmsford Theatre Workshop at the Old Court

A Christmas treat from CTW, James Christie and his comically gifted cast.
The Odd Couple has had a long and successful career on stage and screen – now it is becoming a period piece, and the 60s setting was nicely observed in this production, especially perhaps in the appearance of the English girls from upstairs, played with a nice sense of style, and effervescent enthusiasm, by Naomi Phillips and Vikki Pead.
The Riverside Drive apartment was convincingly recreated too, with a nice pair of louvred doors for the offstage kitchen.
The action revolves around a poker school, and there were some lovely characterizations here, notably Jesse Powis's cop, and Barry Taylor's dyspeptic Speed. Though there was impetus a-plenty in their exchanges, we did sometimes long for more rapport, a pacier overlap of dialogue.
The two writers of the title – fastidious Felix and "divorced, drunk and slobby" Oscar were played by Kevin Stemp and Dave Hawkes. Possibly the best double act to grace this stage, they both inhabited their roles with total conviction – Oscar the wisecracking kidult in his baseball cap and sneakers, Felix fragile in his pain, awkward with the Pigeon girls, humming along to Mozart as he dishes up.
The music, too, was well used; a whole ballet "Too Good to be True" developed for the big sulk that opens the final scene.

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