Overview

Synopsis

Shaun Micallef and Francis Greenslade play the famous mismatched duo in this comedy classic, directed by Peter Houghton.
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Cast & Creatives

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Reviews

Laughs in this buddy comedy flow as freely as the action, with a current of real poignancy under all the easy-to-take fun.

The Age
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Synopsis

Shaun Micallef and Francis Greenslade play the famous mismatched duo in this comedy classic, directed by Peter Houghton.

Everything’s set for the regular poker game at Oscar’s place, but where’s Felix? He’s never late. A call to his wife reveals that she and Felix have split up and he’s taken it pretty hard. When he finally arrives, in shock, distraught, with thoughts to end it all, Oscar makes a proposal. Why not move in here with him? Think about it – two bachelors living together, fancy free, no wives getting on their nerves. It’ll be paradise!

Neil Simon’s classic comedy about divorced men living together might be, perversely, the world’s funniest play about marriage. Has there ever been such a mismatch than this between the curmudgeonly slob Oscar Madison and the pernickety Felix Ungar? Can a seven-room Manhattan apartment ever be big enough for both of them?

Countless revivals, three TV series and a hit film testify to the sure-fire hilarity of The Odd Couple. All a production needs are two character actors at the top of their form, such as Shaun Micallef (Mad as Hell) and Francis Greenslade (Packed to the Rafters) and a specialist comedy director, such as Peter Houghton (True Minds), to make sure these famous one-liners hit their marks.

Cast & Crew

Francis Greenslade

Francis Greenslade

Oscar Madison

Shaun Micallef

Shaun Micallef

Felix Ungar

Michala-Banas.png

Michala Banas

Gwendolyn Pigeon

David Ross Paterson

David Ross Paterson

Roy

Grant Piro

Grant Piro

Speed

Hayden Spencer.jpg

Hayden Spencer

Murray

Drew Tingwell

Drew Tingwell

Vinnie

Christie Whelan Browne

Christie Whelan Browne

Cecily Pigeon

Peter Houghton

Peter Houghton

Director

Christina Smith

Christina Smith

Set & Costume Designer

Matt Scott

Matt Scott

Lighting Designer

David Franzke

J David Franzke

Composer & Sound Designer

Geraldine-Cook.png

Geraldine Cook

Voice & Dialect Coach

Kat Henry

Kat Henry

Assistant Director

News & Reviews

Reviews

Laughs in this buddy comedy flow as freely as the action, with a current of real poignancy under all the easy-to-take fun.

The Age

an entertaining night in the theatre

Herald Sun

Reality sucks – maybe the stupefying gloss of the sitcom is the perfect antidote.

The Daily Review

Venues

More Information

The playwright

Neil Simon Neil Simon is a renowned American playwright, screenwriter and author. His repertoire encompasses more than 30 plays, and almost 30 movie screenplays (mostly adaptation of his plays). He has received more combined Tony and Oscar Award nominations than any other writer.

His third play, The Odd Couple (1965), earned him his first Tony Award and catapulted him into the public eye. On one occasion, he had four successful plays running on Broadway at the same time, and in 1983 a New York Theatre was named after him, making him the first living playwright to be bestowed with such an honour.

Simon was drawn to comedy films at a young age, harnessing humour to escape from an unhappy and unstable childhood. When Simon was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Lost in Yonkers (1991), critics began to look past his comedic style to see the deeper, more serious themes and complexities present in all his plays: death of loved ones, divorce, unemployment, dysfunctional families, and rivalries. Simon has said that many of his plays contain autobiographical elements: ‘The way I see things, life is both sad and funny. I can’t imagine a comical situation that isn’t at the same time also painful. I used to ask myself: “What is a humorous situation?” Now I ask: ‘What is a sad situation and how can I tell it humorously?”’

The characters

Shaun Micallef plays Felix Ungar. His wife has just asked him for a divorce.

Francis Greenslade plays Oscar Madison, Felix’s best friend. He asks Felix to move in with him.

Michala Banas plays Gwendolyn Pigeon, and Christie Whelan Browne plays Cecily Pigeon. They are English sisters and Oscar’s neighbours.

David Ross Paterson, Grant Piro, Hayden Spencer and Drew Tingwell play Roy, Speed, Murray and Vinnie respectively. They are all Felix and Oscar’s friends and poker buddies.

The story

Everything’s set for the regular poker game at Oscar’s place, but where’s Felix? He’s never late. A call to his wife reveals that she and Felix have split up and he’s taken it pretty hard. When he finally arrives, in shock, distraught, with thoughts to end it all, Oscar makes a proposal. Why not move in here with him? Two bachelors living together, fancy free, no wives getting on their nerves… It’ll be paradise!

Turns out two divorced men living together isn’t quite the perfect match they expected it to be. Can a seven-room Manhattan apartment ever be big enough for a slob and a pernickety neat freak? Will their friendship survive the ordeal?

Fun facts

Following its Broadway run, The Odd Couple was adapted into a successful film in 1968, starring Jack Lemmon as Felix and Walter Matthau (the original Broadway actor) as Oscar; then a television series in the 1970s, starring Tony Randall as Felix and Jack Klugman (who replaced Matthau on Broadway) as Oscar. Lemmon and Matthau once again starred in the 1998 film sequel, The Odd Couple II.

In 1975, a cartoon version of the play was made, titled The Oddball Couple. The leading characters were a cat and dog named Spiffy and Fleabag.

The Odd Couple was also recreated with a primarily African-American cast, in The New Odd Couple (1982). The most recent television adaptation of The Odd Couple aired last year, starring Matthew Perry (also co-writer and executive producer of the show) as Oscar and Thomas Lennon as Felix.

Simon adapted the play in 1985 to feature female roommates, Florence Ungar and Olive Madison, in The Female Odd Couple, which had 295 performances on Broadway. The original play was updated again in 2002 with the title Oscar and Felix: A New Look at the Odd Couple.

Video

Francis Greenslade and Shaun Micallef talk about The Odd Couple.

Podcast

‘I’ve known Francis for a long time … and we’ve never done a proper play together.’

In this episode of MTC Talks, comedy duo Francis Greenslade and Shaun Micallef speak to Fiona Gruber about playing the iconic Odd Couple in Neil Simon’s classic comedy.

You can listen to the interview by clicking the Play button below.

In the news

The Age: Shaun Micallef explains why he and Francis Greenslade are perfectly odd

Shaun Micallef guest edits Spectrum (Saturday 22 October). Click the link above to read the articles and watch the behind-the-scenes video of Shaun Micallef and Francis Greenslade’s ‘Odd Couplings’ photo shoot.

Events

31 October, 6pm: Free cast and artist Q&A

Join us at Southbank Theatre, the Sumner for a free discussion with the cast and creative teams.

14 November: Donor event – Post-show cocktail party

There will be a post-show cocktail party for MTC Donors, following the 6.30pm performance. For more information about becoming an MTC Donor, email donations@mtc.com.au

Attendance Information

  • This production contains references to suicide.
  • FM Hearing Systems are available for this production
  • This production will be audio described on 29 November (6.30pm) and 3 December (4pm, with a tactile tour at 3pm), and captioned on 17 December (4pm).
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