52.9 F
Palm Springs
Sunday, April 5, 2020

Newly Minted Neil Simon Classic “The Odd Couple” On Stage At Ipac

Must read

Protesters threaten to stab Mitch McConnell outside his home

A mob of angry gun control protesters gathered outside Senator Mitch McConnell’s Louisville home and chanted death threats in a bid to...

Senators Back Protections for Undocumented Military Family Members

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Immigrants' rights groups say fear is spreading among people in the U.S. military who have undocumented family members, after...

Community Challenge Grants Improve Livability Across CA

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Four California communities will see some significant improvements in the next few months – thanks to the 2019 AARP Community...

CA English-Learner Programs to Get $10 Million in Current Budget

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — One in four public-school students in California is an English learner, and now programs to help them become more...

Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic
Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic

“The Odd Couple” is one of Neil Simon’s most successful plays, and believe me he’s had a slew of them. He holds the record as Broadway’s most successful playwright with over 30 smash Broadway hits; with three running simultaneously, in a non-pareil career.

The genius that is Simon is his ability to resonate with his audience. One doesn’t laugh at his characters. One laughs with them and the laughs are non-stop. It should come as no surprise then that the Palm Desert Stage Company (PDSC) is presenting a first-rate production of Simon at his best; lovingly directed by Jeanette Knight.

left to to right Matthew Shaker, Debbie Apple, Colleen Kelley
left to to right Matthew Shaker, Debbie Apple, Colleen Kelley

Producer and founder of PDSC Colleen Kelley, who plays one of the Pigeon sisters in the production, gathered a cast of some of the Valley’s most talented and sharpest comedians and actors who bring fresh portrayals to Simon’s iconic characters of Oscar Madison and Felix Unger played by Lou Galvan and Matthew Shaker, respectively.

Galvan and Shaker are well known actors here in the Valley, and their on-stage chemistry plays like gangbusters under Knight’s creative direction. Galvan’s Oscar is a dynamo of energy with impeccable comedy timing. It’s always a pleasure watching him perform. He has a serious side but he excels in comedy roles; thank goodness.

Ron Young, Alan Berry, Peter Mins, Lou Galvan
Ron Young, Alan Berry, Peter Mins, Lou Galvan

Shaker as the fussy, about-to-be-divorced-from-his-wife, Felix, is a revelation. Shaker has run the acting gamut with such diverse roles as the villain in “Wait Until Dark”, at the Palm Canyon Theatre years ago, to Cornelius in “Hello Dolly” to Claude in “Hair” (the man’s a professional musician as well), to now as Felix in the PDSC production gem “The Odd Couple”. Shaker’s Felix brings another comedy dimension to the character created by Neil Simon. He and Galvan are the perfect “Odd Couple” It’s one of Shaker’s finest performances. His frustration with Galvan’s slob Oscar portrayal is priceless to watch.

Bolstering the entertaining production is the solid hilarious ensemble group of card-playing cronies of Oscar: Ron Young as Murray, Charles Williams Gaines as Vinnie, Peter Mins as Roy, and Alan Berry as Speed (it’s good seeing Berry back on the boards after a five year hiatus). Adding spice to the comedy proceedings are the aforementioned Colleen Kelley as Gwendolyn Pigeon, and Debbie Apple as Cecily Pigeon, the English sisters who live in the upstairs apartment in Oscars building.

It was gratifying to see a sold-out house on opening night at the Indio Performing Arts Center (IPAC). The mostly middle-age patrons of a “certain age” audience, relished the on-stage shenanigans of the actors remembering, no doubt, the first time seeing “The Odd Couple” back in the middle 1960’s. This production is like a good vintage wine that only gets better with age in the caring hands of a terrific ensemble cast.

“The Odd Couple performs at IPAC through November 23rd, 2014. Call the Palm Desert Stage Company Box Office at 760-636-9682 for reservations and ticket information.


More articles

Latest article

Border Patrol Arrests Woman Attempting to Smuggle Meth

SALTON CITY, Calif. – El Centro SectorBorder Patrol agents working at the Highway 86 immigration checkpoint arrested a woman suspected of smuggling methamphetamine...

Medical marijuana workers start unionizing with government help

Marijuana may still be illegal at the federal level, but the US labor board believes pot workers still have the same rights as any...

America’s first recreational pot licenses issued in Colorado

Colorado made history on Monday, becoming the first state in the US to issue hundreds of licenses for recreational marijuana businesses. Colorado's Marijuana Enforcement Division...

Praised & Maligned Medical Marijuana Collective to Celebrate 3rd Anniversary

Praised & Maligned Medical Marijuana Collective to Celebrate 3rd Anniversary Riverside’s actions to close the collective is at the California Supreme Court, but they are...

Obama administration considering ways to overturn marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado

New legislation in Washington state went into effect this week that legalizes for the first time in ages the possession of marijuana. Federal law...