There’s a reason Neil Simon’s classic The Odd Couple has been produced again and again, for everything from Broadway to film to television and back to Broadway: It’s hilarious. There’s something inherently funny about opposite personalities forced to coexist. According to Lysander Abadia, director of the Las Vegas Little Theatre’s upcoming production of the female version of the play, that hilarity only gets ratcheted up when the characters are women. “It’s funnier than the male version, because the characters are more fully developed,” Abadia says. “The relationships are clearer between this close group of friends, and the jokes are sharper and more refined.” That could be because Simon reworked the original play for women years later (1985), or maybe it’s because, as Abadia speculates, “Women are funnier.”
Either way, there’s no denying the play’s ability to make audiences crack up. Florence Ungar and Olive Madison are different as day and night, which isn’t a problem until they become roommates. The action begins when Olive invites the girls over for a night of Trivial Pursuit (in lieu of poker). Olive then arranges a double date with the wacky Costazuela brothers in an effort to cheer up the recently single Florence. As you can guess, the plan backfires, leading to some tense and funny moments.
Little Theatre’s production, opening May 5 and running through May 21, features theatergoer darlings Gillen Brey (as Olive) and April Sauline (as Florence), both of whom Abadia describes as “comedic powerhouses who jump head first.” The director also says the production can be seen as subversive, “offering a snapshot of the women’s movement as it was in 1985 and giving the audience an opportunity to examine how things have or haven’t changed for American women.” Regardless of the power of Simon’s play to make you question women’s progress, a play produced largely by women is a positive and progressive statement in itself.
The Odd Couple (Female Version) May 5-21, days & times vary, $21-$24. Las Vegas Little Theatre, 702-362-7996.