Odd search comes up trumps

The Odd Couple, Warkworth Drama Group, Warkworth Memorial Hall. April 14, 15 and 16, 7.30pm. Tickets £6 from the Village Store and N&F Young, Amble.

THE search for 1960s domestic paraphernalia has just about been completed in time for next Thursday’s opening night of Warkworth Drama Group’s spring production, The Odd Couple.

An old-fashioned upright vacuum cleaner and a spirit-filled cigarette lighter have been tracked down to add authenticity to the setting of a twelfth floor New York city apartment.

Neil Simon’s play – made into a successful film featuring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau – centres on the short but highly eventful and chaotic co-habitation of two distinctly different characters. Oscar Madison is a divorced, easy-going good-natured slob who unwisely invites recently-separated and potentially-suicidal Felix Ungar to live with him.

Oscar is used to living with mess, Felix has an allergy to dust and can’t abide clutter. When Oscar wants to pursue one of the English sisters living in an upstairs apartment, Felix hangs back preferring to clean the pans and wash his hair. When Oscar and his poker-playing pals – Speed, Vinnie, Murray and Roy – try to get on with the game, Felix is being a fastidious pain in the rear.

Inevitably tempers flare and accusations are thrown as it dawns on the two central characters that they are temperamentally unsuited to each other.

Directed by Ralph Firth, the play is liberally sprinkled with witty observations, wise-cracks and characteristic New York put-downs.