Skip to main content

The Odd Couple

Perth Theatre
3 stars
The Trivial Pursuits being played during the girls night say it all 
about Neil Simon’s mid 1980s female-led reboot of his 1965 New York 
flat-sharing comedy. Because, rather than the laddishly perennial poker 
school of the original, it’s that more voguishly faddish game which 
makes it look more of a period piece than it should do. That’s not 
necessarily to the detriment of Rachel O’Riordan’s bright and at times 
extremely funny new production. Just don’t mistake the primary colours 
and zingy period soundtrack, led by Cyndi Laupa’s gloriously inevitable 
Girls Just Want To Have Fun, as some cheap date hen-night extravaganza 
is all. Simon, and indeed O’Riordan, are smarter than that.

Here, then, Olive is the slobby singleton holding court to a diverse 
mix of gal pals on the run from various states of marital harmony. When 
neurotic drama queen Florence turns up having been unceremoniously 
dumped after fourteen years, the unholy alliance the pair forge when 
Florence moves in is a disaster waiting to happen. When Olive 
negotiates the date with a wilfully one-dimensional pair of Spanish 
brothers in the next apartment that forms the play’s centre-piece, 
however, things take an unexpectantly liberating turn.

As intelligent as some of Simon’s observations are on marriage – and 
it’s here the gender-bending really works – this is resolutely 
feel-good stuff. In today’s post Sex and the City climate, too, the 
wise-cracking discourse of Simon’s native New Yorkers here can sound 
rather tame. Fortunately a rock-solid cast, led by Abigail McGibben as 
Olive and Cara Kelly as Florence, deal with this without ever 
vulgarising things. Kelly in particular is a comic force of nature in a 
well-observed and occasionally invigorating sit-com.

The Herald, October 1st 2012

ends


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…