Presented by Blackwood Players
Reviewed 7 June 2019
The Blackwood Players’ latest offering is a version of Neil Simon’s classic The Odd Couplewhich sees the lead characters transformed into Olive Madison and Florence Unger. Olive and a group of girlfriends are enjoying their weekly Trivial Pursuit night in Olive’s messy and ill-equipped apartment. Florence arrives, fresh from being dumped by her husband. Fearful that the neurotic Florence might attempt suicide, Olive invites her to move in as her roommate. However, where Olive is messy, untidy, and unconcerned about the state of her apartment, Florence is obsessively clean, tidy, and obsessed with hygiene.
This comic piece is well written and under the deft hand of new to Blackwood Players Director Stephanie Gonelli, is given a colourful and authentic life. The cast are universally worthy although Amy Neumann as Olive and Rebecca Gardner as Florence deserve special mention as they carry the lion’s share of material, both giving excellent dramatic and comedic performances. They are supported by Kate Anolak (Sylvie), Esther Michelsen (Renee), Janet Jauncey (Mickey) and Dawn Ross (Vera) as their diverse friendship group. In act 2 we meet Luke Abraham and Joshua Kerr as the flamboyant and amusing Spanish brothers Manolo and Jesus.
The play is set in the 1980s and the costumes and set are on point. Some scene changes are a little slow due to the need to be specific in the details of the changes, but the supposed radio announcements work well to cover. A couple of bumbled lines on opening night were well camouflaged and did not detract from the overall success of the evening.
This makes for an enjoyable night out with cabaret style seating keeping things social, and a bar and snacks available. It deserves a bigger turnout than that of opening night, and as a local, I don’t recall seeing much promotion. Hopefully word spreads and many more will take the opportunity to have an inexpensive, entertaining night out and support this community theatre group in their fine work.
Reviewed by Trish Francis
Venue: Blackwood 21 (Blackwood Memorial Hall)
Season: Until 22 June 2019
Duration: 2 hours
Tickets: $22 – $25
Bookings: 0481 373 949 or online at blackwoodplayers.com