Mismatched Odd Couple coming to St Albans stage

Holly Road Productions presents The Odd Couple in St Albans

Holly Road Productions presents The Odd Couple in St Albans - Credit: Archant

A production of hit Broadway comedy The Odd Couple takes to the stage in St Albans this week.

Holly Road Productions presents Neil Simon’s tale of two mismatched roommates – the neat and uptight Felix Unger and the slovenly Oscar Madison – at the Maltings Arts Theatre.

There are performances of the play this week on Thursday, January 19, Friday, January 20 and Saturday, January 21 at 7.30pm.

Written by Neil Simon and directed by Stanley Walton, The Odd Couple can be seen on the same stage the following week on Thursday, January 26, Friday, January 27 and Saturday, January 28.

The Odd Couple follows the story of Felix, a neurotic news writer, who is having a life crisis. His wife is leaving him and he has nowhere to live.

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At breaking point, he turns to his closest friend Oscar Madison, an untidy sports writer, who invites him to be his roommate.

Tension rises as the mismatched pair clash over their new living arrangement and it reaches breaking point.

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The Holly Road show’s technical manager Michael Bird said: “I have been the technical manager for the past two productions with Holly Road Productions, White Lies and Jack Stanley’s adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of the Red Death and Fall of the House of Usher.

“I can say I am very excited to be involved in their new project, Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple.

“This is going to be the biggest and most ambitious Holly Road Productions show yet, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to work alongside them on the technical and production side of the show, and excited to see what long-time Holly Road Productions director Stanley Walton will create for audiences.”

Director Stanley Walton said: “Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple is a play I first encountered when I was taking my Trinity Guildhall Acting in Pairs examination right here in St Albans with Holly Road Productions founding member Alex Bell.

“We were the titular dysfunctional pair, a dynamic established since our youth, however I’ll leave who played Felix and who played Oscar to your imagination.”

The original 1965 Broadway play was adapted for a 1968 film starring Jack Lemmon as Felix and Walter Matthau as Oscar, and later a 1970s television series.

Holly Road founding members Alex Bell and Ben Hill will play Oscar and Felix in the new St Albans production.

Director Walton said: “A challenge I relish when undertaking an established play rather than new writing is finding the new spin, what’s relevant about the text today and how can we bring that to the foreground.

“The dynamic between the two main characters, Oscar and Felix, is that of two men struggling to be honest and vulnerable, they have the typical arguments that you’d expect when two contrary personalities are cooped up together but they work out how to overcome these obstacles.

“On top of this you get the outside perspective from their group of friends.”

He added: “Neil Simon’s dialogue is snappy and when the sparks fly no punch is too hard and yet their acerbic wit remains throughout.

“I urge you to come along to see what we do with the original incompatible buddy story.”

• Tickets cost £10, and £7.50 concessions.

They are available from the Maltings website at www.maltingsartstheatre.co.uk

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