so - as you may remember - we have season tickets to a couple of local theaters and last night was the night we were scheduled to see The Odd Couple at Northlight.
The big hype was George Wendt was back at Northlight for the first time since doing Rounding Third with one of the Arkins here a couple of years back. He was paired with an old Second City buddy the multi faceted and multi talented Tim Kazurinsky as Oscar and Felix respectively.
then Wendt went... we got a call a week or so ago saying he was indisposed and would be replaced. turns out the guy who replaced him was actually born to play Fred Flintstone (he was a dead ringer- same shaped head- same haircut etc...)
anyway- here is my review:
the cast was great - I would say Tim Kazurinsky was born to play Felix Ungar but that isn't true- he is just such a superb actor that it seemed like he WAS Felix Ungar. the guys who played the poker players were all "old pros" in the best sense of the phrase.
the play is somewhat showing its age- while still funny, it doesn't have the edge it once did when a fussy Felix would have been much more of an outrageous character than the broad spectrum of acceptable behavior we find "normal" today.
the pigeon sisters were dopey and anachronistic... might have been funny fifty years ago - today not so much....
all in all a workman-like production, but more- a serious reminder about how much really EXCELLENT theater we see in Chicago that is much more thought provoking and cutting edge than a old stalwart nearing 50.
and I don't think that the fact that Wendt went - and was replaced did it any harm, as the flaws were material related versus player related...
bottom line- I wouldn't bother-
If the Big Knife is still playing at the Raven go see it. Despite its age (the Odets play is much older- 1949- than the Simon -1965) it still has the thought provoking edge it had "back in the day"
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