Review: MMAS does 'Odd Couple' right

Kevin Mischley is Felix and Bill Roberts is Oscar in the MMAS production of "The Odd Couple." (submitted photo)

MANSFIELD - They say opposites attract. Now, who "they" are and why their wisdom is so profoundly accurate is anyone's guess. But I will say one thing: That attraction can make for a very enjoyable evening at the theater, as it does with MMAS' current production, "The Odd Couple."

Set in New York in the '60s, Neil Simon's well known play focuses on the antics of a pair of mismatched roommates: the slovenly and laid back Oscar Madison and the fastidious and uptight Felix Unger. Thrown together after both men divorce, their polarization of personalities explodes hilariously within the confines of the play. Supported by a cast of six smaller roles, comprised of four men (Oscar's weekly poker night buddies) and two women (British sisters who are the objects of the men's desire), Simon's peek into the lives of these men is palpably realistic.

Oscar's poker buddies are a diverse group. As the sarcastic Speed, David Butler does a fine job delivering his caustic lines. Billy Castro of Attleboro portrays the sweet and hen- pecked Vinnie to perfection. Richard Stiles is perfectly cast as the simple and lovable cop, Murray. And Steve Valdez' handling of Roy the accountant's dry wit is spot on. All these men have their own distinct characterizations and the actors who play them define those characterizations wonderfully.

As the British sisters whom Oscar is interested in wooing, Colleen Johnson and Michelle Monti are absolutely delightful. Their well synchronized giggles and animated facial expressions are simply perfect. Johnson and Monti brighten the stage when they enter.

Kevin Michley has the job of playing the annoying Felix, and he does it well. From the character's obsessive cleanliness to his famous "sinus clearing moose call," Michley delivers the goods on Felix. Well done.

As the slovenly yet likable Oscar Madison, Bill Roberts shines. Roberts has an ease onstage that translates beautifully. From his line delivery to facial expression to body stance, Roberts is clearly comfortable in Oscar's shoes. So comfortable in fact, you may wonder if he is truly a sloppy, gruff, divorcee who plays poker weekly with his friends in real life.

Since the show is set in the '60s, the audience is treated to some really fun costuming, particularly that of the women, designed by Anne-Marie Lambert.

MMAS' "The Odd Couple" at its newly expanded Black Box theater makes for an enjoyable evening. It's well directed by Neil J. Colvin on a stunning set designed by Gary Poholek (including a lighted New York skyline), and features expert lighting and sound operation by Alan Conway and Dave Coccia.

"The Odd Couple" runs weekends through Nov. 8. Reservations can be made by calling MMAS' box office at 508-399-2822 or online at www.MMAS.org.

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