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Press Releases

The Odd Couple

20 Sep 2016

Shaun Micallef and Francis Greenslade star as the famous mismatched duo in comedy classic The Odd Couple. Directed by comedy specialist Peter Houghton, this hilarious story about friendship, marriage and unexpected flatmates opens on Thursday 10 November at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner.

In Neil Simon’s unforgettable play, opposites attract in the most hilarious way when the grouchy slob Oscar Madison and the pernickety neat-freak Felix Ungar find themselves living under the same roof. Countless plays, films and TV series have drawn on this iconic story, demonstrating its enduring appeal and earning it a place among the great seminal comedies of our time.

Audiences are bound to be left in stitches of laughter, as an hilarious cast join genius comedic couple Micallef and Greenslade in bringing this new production to life, including Michala Banas (Birdland), Christie Whelan Browne (The Beast), David Ross Paterson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Grant Piro (Jack Irish), Hayden Spencer (Jasper Jones) and Drew Tingwell (Winners & Losers).

Director Peter Houghton said, ‘It is rare to be given a piece to direct that you’ve always loved. When I first saw the film as a kid the precision comic writing of Neil Simon blew me away. Every line was a pearl, every exchange was a gem and the characters were cut like crystal. I walked around dropping one-liners like Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon for months afterwards. So directing this is like coming home – the play is without doubt, a work of comic genius. My goal is to let the play sing, to allow it to be its magnificent self and with the cast we’re putting together it will raise the roof. I’m lucky, with Shaun Micallef and Francis Greenslade, to have a comic duo that will bring Felix and Oscar into rib-shattering life.’

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!

Peter Houghton is an award winning Australian actor, writer and director. His directing work includes Noises Off for Marriner Theatres; True Minds, The Recruit, Hinterland, Art and Soul and The Boy at the Edge of Everything for MTC; Footprints on Water for Griffin Theatre; No Man’s Island for the Melbourne Festival; Svetlana in Slingbacks, God’s Last Acre and The China Incident for Playbox/Malthouse; and Day One a Hotel Evening for Black Swan. He has won multiple Green Room Awards for directing, acting and writing and produced a critically acclaimed trilogy of solo shows: The Pitch, The China Incident and The Colours, all of which he wrote.

Neil Simon is a Pulitzer Prize and multiple Tony Award-winning American playwright and screenwriter who penned some of America’s most popular plays including Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple. Simon’s first Broadway play, Come Blow Your Horn, opened in 1961. He went on to write over 30 plays, including The Last of the Red Hot Lovers,The Sunshine Boys, Chapter Two, the autobiographical trilogy of Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, Broadway Bound, Lost in Yonkers and The Goodbye Girl.

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Cast Michala Banas, Christie Whelan Browne, Francis Greenslade, Shaun Micallef, David Ross Paterson, Grant Piro, Hayden Spencer, Drew Tingwell

Director Peter Houghton

Set & Costume Designer Christina Smith

Lighting Designer Matt Scott

Composer & Sound Designer J David Franzke

Voice & Dialect Coach Geraldine Cook

Assistant Director Kat Henry

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‘Scarcely a moment that is not hilarious.’ The New York Times

‘Wildly, irresistibly, incredibly and continually funny.’ New York Daily News

‘The laughs come early and often in this non-stop comedy.’ NY Theatre Guide

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Venue
Southbank Theatre, The Sumner

Season dates
5 November – 17 December

Opening night
Thursday 10 November

Cast and Artist Q&A
Monday 31 October, 6pm

Tickets on sale now
MTC Box Office
03 8688 0800 or
mtc.com.au

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