This is a masterful comedy by Neil Simon.

The play  starts with Oscar enjoying a cards night with his friends.  This is a mens only club and they behave in a very relaxed and slovenly way. They are one man down.

Late in the night Oscar receives a  call to say that his friend Felix has been thrown out of his house by his wife and is roaming the street like a lost soul. The group ate very worried about him, knowing what a sensitive soul he is. They conspire, in the event that Felix comes to the door, to pretend to know nothing about  Felix’s drama.

Inevitably Felix turns up at Oscar’s door, Oscar lets him in. He looks a picture of misery but at first manages to contain his distress .Not for long! It pours out of him like a dam bursting.

The guys express their sympathy. No-one is in the mood to play cards anymore, and the guys soon take their leave. Oscar is left alone with Felix. Oscar might be a bit of a slob but he is also a sensitive soul. He comes up with a plan to get Felix out of his funk. He has plenty of room in his apartment and tells Felix that he is welcome to stay for the time being. Felix snaps up the offer.

It is a decision that Oscar soon regrets. With the two men living in such close quarters, their very different personalities come to the fore and they are always clashing.

Mark Kilmurry’s production  serves Simon’s classic comedy well. He wins wonderful performances from his cast.

Steve Rodgers plays the dishevelled sports writer Oscar. Brian Meegan plays the uptight Felix. There is good comic chemistry between them.

Lawrence Coy, Robert Jago, James Lugton and Nicholas Papademetriou look the part as the card playing group who know they are out of their depth when it comes to dealing with Felix’s distress.

Katie Fitchett and Olivia Pigeot revel as the giggly women who live upstairs. Oscar invites them down for dinner hoping to get some action not realising that Felix is going to spoil the night by ‘crying on their shoulders’, telling them about his marital woes.

Hugh O’Connor‘s finely detailed set of Oscar’s living room impressed.

A very entertaining night at the theatre, Neil Simon’s THE ODD COUPLE is playing the Ensemble Theatre until the 30th December, 2019.

Featured image : Katie Fitchett as Gwendolyn and Olivia Pigeot as Cecily in THE ODD COUPLE ImageCredit_Prudence.Upton