The Greville Theatre Club

The female
Odd Couple

by Neil Simon

Oct/Nov 2010

Directed by
Diana Bradley


Review by Pat Rudkins

Michael Gray's Arts Blog

Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2010.


Greville Theatre Club at the Barn Little Easton

No poker for these Golden Girls, but hard-fought games of Trivial Pursuit. There's Mickey the cop [a no-nonsense Carol Parradine] and Vera [“the oldest known vegetable in the world”, played with a nice line in puzzled pathos by Judy Lee], Sylvie [Marcia Baldry] and Renee [Lynda Shelverton].

They meet in Olive's flat – not the neatest in New York – and suffer her warm cola and her Dead Sea Scroll sandwiches. At Greville she's played, in all her endearing sloppiness and her NJ83 sweatshirt, by Jan Ford. Wisecracking, with every line timed to a tee, but caring too: she happily offers a home to her friend Flo, who's about to be divorced from the unseen Sydney. They're chalk and cheese – the obsessively houseproud room-mate soon exasperates Olive with her “cooking, cleaning and crying”. A pretty near perfect performance here from Rita Vango, the accent, the body language, and of course the characterization and the comedy timing. These two troupers were a great team, sparking off each other and clearly comfortable in each other's company. The wordless start to the final scene just one example of the stage chemistry that had our table in tears of laughter.

The centre piece of the Second Act, the deliciously difficult dinner date, featured an even odder couple, the Costazuela brothers from the flat upstairs, replacing the Pigeon sisters of the original. They too wrung all the laughs from their slightly bizarre dialogue. Rodney Foster was the somewhat slow Manolo, John Richardson a dapper Jesus.

Neil Simon's play is superbly crafted, with old fashioned curtain lines and cracking dialogue. It was revived with style and enthusiasm in Diana Bradley's polished production.