BWW Review: THE ODD COUPLE at MADCAP Comedy And Improv Troupe, A MADCAP Theatre Debut
At the Jabara Flexible Theatre on the Newman University Campus, The Odd Couple was presented by a new Wichita Theatre company called MADCAP Comedy and Improv Troupe. Spear-headed and founded by local actor Cameron Carlson, this was the first production for the troupe specially arranged by Samuel French, Incorporated.
Set in an apartment on Riverside Drive, New York City of July 1965, the cast was led by Carlson (Oscar) and under the direction of Dona Lancaster. This play, written by Neil Simon, portrays two friends who get stuck living together, and comedy ensues. One roommate is neat and tidy and likes things clean, while the other is 'divorced, broke and sloppy.' These personality traits become increasingly heightened as the show progresses, taking the audience deeper inside each individuals' quirks and idiosyncrasies. All this leads to a couple's date night with sisters Gwendolyn Pigeon, portrayed by Jami Thomas, and Cecily Pigeon, played by Julie Williams. The two actresses were great in their comedic timing. While sources beg to differ, the idea of the show came to playwright Neil Simon from his own personal experiences with divorce.
Overall, the show was well-done for a first-time production by a new theatre company. There were instances of sloppiness, particularly with blocking and underutilizing a really great set. At times, actors' actions did not match with what was being said, and at other times the actors would find comfort in center and left of center stage when a conversation could have easily been staged to the right. Still, these knit-picky examples did not distract from the story, which allowed the theme of the show to shine through-the examination of one's own tendencies while cohabitating with a friend, spouse, or family member. Props, by Lana Carlson, Theresa Dombrowski, Kevin Dombrowski and Kathy Woodward, were extraordinarily excellent for such a prop-heavy production. The four did a wonderful job of finding period appropriate properties to match the set designed by James Leggett. Again, Wichita has gained a new theatre company and for that, we are so lucky! Over time this theatre will get better and better. I can see the potential.
For more information about MADCAP's upcoming performances, be sure to like their Facebook Page at MADCAP Comedy and Improv Troupe.