Odd Couple

Venture tackles two versions of comedy classic

November 11, 2004 11:00 pm

Venture Theatre’s advanced Youth Conservatory actors will present male and female versions of Neil Simons’ comedy classic “The Odd Couple” throughout November.

The story about two recent divorcées thrust together into a living arrangement was originally written in the late 1960s. Simon adapted his original “Odd Couple” script for a female cast in the early 1980s. Venture ambitiously tackles both scripts on alternating nights in November.

The show begins with a group of men playing cards in the apartment of Oscar Madison, a divorced fellow, and if the mess is any indication it’s no wonder his wife left him. Late to arrive is Felix Unger, a member of this poker group who has just been separated from his wife. Felix’s apparent depression and impending divorce evoke the sympathy of his friends. Oscar invites Felix to room with him, and the opposites do not attract.

The female version follows the same plotline, but makes all the necessary adaptations to capture a female experience of separation. Instead of poker, it’s Trivial Pursuit. Instead of two English girls to date, it is two sexy Spaniards. The gender is changed, but the results are the same as these two friends couldn’t be more mismatched.

The mismatched male roommates are Sean Connors as Oscar and Adam Christie as Felix. The female roommates are Erin Claxton as Olive and Ellie Eckhardt as Florence.

Both productions feature the best of the youth conservatory, including Max Peterson, Andrew Gumm, Todd Harrington, and Austin Brown as the poker players. Katie Olp, Justine Summers, Claire Morton, and Amy Fladmo play the Trivial Pursuit players. Seth Nehring and Colin Zinnecker play the Latin lovers in the female version and Lia Petriccione and Carly Clausing play the adorable and very British Pigeon sisters in the male version.

Both productions are directed by Mace Archer who hasn’t directed a Neil Simon play in over a decade.

“Directing the two plays at one time is quite a challenge, but it really heightens the experience. It’s great practice for our upcoming production of ‘House and Garden,’ which is actually two plays being performed at the exact same time with the same cast. This production is helping us all get ready for that,” Archer said.

If you go

“The Odd Couple,” Youth Conservatory comedy is being presented at Venture Theatre, 2317 Montana Ave. The female version is tonight and Saturday night and Friday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 7:30 p.m.; and Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. The male version is Sunday at 4 p.m.; Nov. 18 and Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 20 at 8 p.m.