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BWW Review: THE ODD COUPLE Entertains at The Central New York Playhouse

L-R John Melvin and Eric Feldstein. Photo by Amelia Beamish.

The Central New York Playhouse or "The Theatre in the mall" usually delivers great comedic shows and their present production of Neil Simon's hit comedy of The Odd Couple is no exception. Under the impressive direction of Heather J. Roach, the strong leads put on an entertaining show with a lot of laughs and a range of emotions.

The very well known story set in 1966 New York City centers on two very different roommates. The uptight, cleanly, and very particular Felix Unger (Eric Feldstein) is going through a divorce. His friend Oscar Madison (John Melvin) is the complete opposite. He is sloppy and incredibly laid back. Divorced for quite a while, Oscar invites Felix to move into his large New York City home after he is concerned for Felix's safety given his break down. At first it seems perfect since Felix loves to keep things cleanly and Oscar's home is in desperate need of a deep cleaning. However, the two roommates' opposite personalities don't seem to mesh well when living under the same roof.

The leading men give their all to portray these amusing characters. They carry the show with such heart and devotion.

John Melvin as the "divorced, broke, and sloppy" Oscar Madison is hilarious as he continually trashes the home and covers his poker game buddies with food and beer. Melvin is relaxed, comedic, and plays off of his fellow actors perfectly. He is definitely enjoying every moment on stage. His confidence, attitude, and facial expressions are what the audience would expect for Oscar Madison.

As the tense Felix Unger, Eric Feldstein is hilarious with every particular movement he makes on stage. Feldstein's consistency, facial expressions, and fabulous line delivery shows off his incredible comedic abilities. Eric Feldstein has been in numerous local productions, but this role of Felix Unger was made for him. He stole the show.

The supporting ensemble also deliver some very good comedic moments. Local favorite Jim Magnarelli as Speed shows off his strong acting skills as always. As Vinnie, Derek Potocki plays off of his fellow actors perfectly. His entertaining facial expressions are a highlight throughout the show. Potocki delivers a very memorable performance; he steals the spotlight every chance he gets. Phil Brady, as Murray the Policeman, and Chris Shepherd, as Roy, delivered some great comedic moments as well.

Karen Greenfield and Libby Montecalvo as the Pigeon sisters have some entertaining moments, particularly when they are crying with Felix on the couch after he told them about his divorce. However, at the performance I attended, they did not have consistent English accents and when the accents they did use weren't particularly believable. They were a little over-the top with the character acting.

Chris Lupia's highly detailed set features many doors to create the large empty home that Oscar lives in, and it worked perfectly for the space. It also made for easy scene transitions. The set, along with Karen Greenfield's scenic artistry, created the perfect setting of the 1966 New York City apartment. The costumes by Capri Merrifield adhered to 1960s fashion. They represented each individual character well, adding to the actors' characterization.

Overall, I am pleased to say that Heather J. Roach has directed a production with such heart. The Odd Couple is sure to give local audiences a perfect night out full of great comedy.

Running Time: Approximately two hours and fifteen minutes with a fifteen-minute intermission after Act I and a five-minute pause after Act II.

The Odd Couple runs through April 29, 2017 at The Central New York Playhouse in Shoppingtown Mall in Dewitt, New York. For tickets and information on the present production and upcoming productions call (315)885-8960 or click here.

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