Monday, March 5, 2012

FCT’s ‘Oscar & Felix’ as hilarious as ever

By Cheryl Thornburg

   Neil Simon’s ‘Odd Couple’ may be 40 years old, but the humor and relationships still resonate today as proven by Fleetwood Community Theatre’s current production, “Oscar & Felix.” This updated version brings the technology up-to-date with cell phones and laptops, while keeping the essence of Simon’s classic comedy intact.  Oscar is still a loveable slob, and Felix, loveable in his own way, is still a compulsive neatnik.
   The story will be familiar to many from its various incarnations, from the 1965 play to the 1968 movie, to the 1970’s TV show. It’s a laugh-out-loud experience worth the trip to Fleetwood.
   Stan Durlak brings neuroticism to new heights as the hyper-neat Felix Unger whose wife has just kicked him to the curb. He is the perfect foil to Lance Thomas as the laid-back, slovenly sports writer, Oscar Madison, who has taken him in. Many of us have known an Oscar at some point in our lives, and Thomas delivers Simon’s zingers with a nonchalance that makes him truly believable.  For example, in reference to a note Felix left for Oscar, Thomas declares “It took me two hours to figure out that F.U. stood for Felix Unger.”
   Durlak and Thomas have great chemistry as they bounce Simon’s delightful dialogue back and forth. This pairing with a seasoned FCT veteran, Durlak, and relative newcomer, Thomas, is the key to the success of this play and it works really well.
   Backing up this dynamic duo are some familiar faces as well as more newcomers.
Oscar’s poker buddies include Patrick McCafferty as Speed, Jeremiah Hershelroth as Murry, a New York City cop), Chris Jameson as Roy, Oscar’s accountant, and Bob Barskey as Vinnie, who always seems to have an appointment to get to.  The poker game gets off to a slow start, but when the guys realize Felix is missing, they pull together to help their friend – and the result is hilarious.
   The laughter continues in the second act when Danelle Wagner and Melissa Kopicz take the stage as Ynez and Julia, two Spanish sisters who work for Air Iberia. They deliver Simon’s now classic dialogue filled with misunderstandings and double entendre with just the right combination of spice and innocence.
   The show is directed by Tara Sands, with Brian Miller as production manager, Ken Dreistadt as stage manager and costumes by Jenni Juntunen.
   FCT added something new this year, dinner performances. Saturday performances will start with a hot buffet dinner at 6 p.m.  Seats for the dinner show are $30 per person and must be reserved by calling 610-944-3610. All seats for Friday and Sunday are $13 available at the door or by calling ahead.  This show is not recommended for young children because of mature conversations.
  Remaining performances are Friday March 9 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday March 10, a dinner show at 6 p.m. (curtain at 7:30 p.m.) and Sunday March 11 at 3 p.m. Performances are at St. Paul's United Church of Christ, 5 West Arch St. in Fleetwood, Pa. 19522

   Fleetwood Community Theatre (FCT) was founded in 1988 by local residents who loved the theatre. Their plan was to teach others about loving the theatre.  FCT is A Not-for-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization of theatre lovers currently in our 24th season. It is committed to the education and development of our membership within the theatre arts program by offering opportunities to all ages both on-stage and behind the scenes. It strives to be an outlet of quality musical, dramatic and ensemble productions. FCT encouraging & supporting local youth to pursue performing arts opportunities through school, church, collegiate or other local productions.


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