A twist on a classic

Cast members of the Odd Couple (female version) rehearse ahead of their Nov. 16-18 show (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Prince Albert Community Players set to perform the Odd Couple, female version

Many people are familiar with the Odd Couple, Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, two polar opposites forced to live together as roommates as adults, as portrayed in the Neil Simon play and several film and TV adaptations of the story.

That show is coming to Prince Albert this month courtesy of Prince Albert Community Players (PACP) — with a twist.

The local theatre troupe is putting on the Odd Couple, female version, at the Rivier theatre from Nov. 16 to 18.

This telling of the tale follows neurotic, obsessively clean and tidy Florence coming to live with the easy-going, messy Olive. Florence is recently divorced, and starting to have a little bit of trouble holding it all together, which means that messy Olive has to step up and she can be the responsible, reliable one.

Starring Gail Enright and Marnie Anderson, and directed by Whitney Kutzan, PACP has been hard at work since early September getting the comedy ready for Prince Albert theatre-goers to enjoy.

“When I read the script I thought it was quite funny, and a very interesting take,” Kutzan said.

“You’re going to see two very different characters experiencing what it’s like to live together and share the same, small apartment in New York.”

Just because it’s a comedy doesn’t mean it’s something people can’t relate to.

“I think there are a lot of real, genuine, human experiences in comedies,” Kutzan said.

“I think you can still be moved by a comedy as much as a drama. There’s a whole generation of people who have had to have roommates for a multitude of reasons. I think anyone who has ever had to live with someone can relate to what it’s like to share space with someone who’s not like you.”

Enright used to watch the Odd Couple on TV. She was pleased to land a starring role in the local production.

“it’s a very hilarious show,” she said. “It’s so much fun.”

Because most people are used to two men in the leading roles, it gives the actors a little bit of leeway to make the characters their own. That’s helpful in portraying such a well-known story, Enright said.

“(People) are not expecting to see the same characters, the same facial expressions or body language,” she said.

“I think people are kind of curious to see what it’s going to be like.”

Enright says she is also helped by her previous experience on stage, including several performances alongside he co-star. The pair already has a natural chemistry, which makes it easier to reflect that in the show.

“it’s much easier to play off of each other,” Enright said.

“We’ve been on the stage before, quite a few times, so we know each other quite well. That does help.”

Both Enright and Kutzan praised their South Hill Mall practice space and said they look forward to moving the show to the Rivier Theatre stage. The large practice space has allowed them to work with the props and set they’ll use during the show’s run. That has helped recent rehearsals be more about making the conversations feel genuine than running lines.

“We have conversations with each other. It’s not as if we’re just doing lines. We’re very much communicating with each other,” Enright said.

She also said audience members will get a laugh out of the only two male cast members in the show. Hank Ethier and Ryan Hughes are playing a pair of Spanish-speaking residents who live in the same building as Florence and Olive. Getting the accents down has been one of the challenges in putting the show together, but Kutzan said the performers have pulled it off, while Enright said the two men are quite funny.

She said audience members can come to the Odd Couple ready to laugh.

“They can expect to be entertained, they can expect to have a lot of laughs,” she said.

“There are some serious points about relationships. It’s funny, but it’s not slapstick. It’s very good entertainment.”

The Odd Couple runs at Rivier Theatre Nov. 16-18. The Nov. 16 and 17 shows start at 7:30 p.m. while the Nov. 18th matinee starts at 2 p.m. Wheelchair access is available with notice. Tickets are available at Canadian Tire or online at pacp.ca.