PITTSBURG — A small cast and singular setting do not hinder Pittsburg Community Theatre’s production of “The Odd Couple.”
The show features only an eight-member cast and takes place in one apartment, but under first-time director John Mazurek it manages to hold audience attention. The story sweeps from depressing to uplifting, but remains funny the whole way through.
The 1965 Neil Simon play tells the story of neat, obsessive Felix Ungar, who moves in with sloppy sportswriter Oscar Madison. The two clash and hijinks ensue. They argue and bond as they struggle with divorce, dating and living together.
The concept of the mismatched roommates has been used and reused over the last 51 years. It’s been seen in everything from remakes of “The Odd Couple” to modern television shows like “Two Broke Girls.” And it still seems to work.
Mazurek has been involved with PCT for many years as a board member and actor, and his first straight show was “Rumors,” another comedy by Neil Simon. He said when he was asked to direct, another Simon play seemed obvious.
“I loved the movie adaptation and original TV series,” Mazurek said. “Plus ‘The Odd Couple’ is just timeless.”
Mazurek has stayed true to the source material for his directorial debut. However, he has made the decision to update costumes, giving the play a more modern setting.
The two lead roles feature Michael Doue — a familiar face in PCT — as Oscar Madison, and Chris Stonecipher as Felix Ungar.
Doue does a great job bringing the mannerisms of a sloppy bachelor to life. His movements, gestures and facial expressions add a great deal to the character.
Stonecipher also brings his character to life with little ticks, sounds and whines. The real strength in his performance his ability to switch from calm and composed to yelling and frantic without missing a beat.
Felix and Oscar’s upstairs neighbors, Cecily and Gwendolyn Pigeon are also played by two familiar faces. Sarah Hall and Mary Jo Harper are both great as the English sisters — including accents. Harper, who stole the show as Mama Rose in the summer production of “Gypsy” brings her eccentric excitement to the role.
The rest of the cast are great in their roles as poker buddies, delivering jokes quickly and keeping the pace moving.
The comedy is perfect for fans of slapstick, wit and even the kind of awkward comedy which made shows like “The Office” famous.
Shows are at 7:30 p.m. October 13 through 15 with a 2 p.m. matinee on October 16. All shows take place at Memorial Auditorium.
Tickets are available online at memorialauditorium.org or at the Memorial Auditorium box office. Cost is $12 reserved seating, main floor, adults; $10 reserved seating, main floor, students and seniors; $8 general admission, balcony.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.