The [)lmgbou of the Western World

by JM Synge

6 - 28 September at 7.45pm

Tickets £7-£18 Student tickets always half price

Special Sunday

show: 2.30pm 22 Sept Student tickets

only £2 02:22:12,...”

Box Office: . 0131 248 4848


Grindlay St. Edinburgh EH3 9AX

Scottish Arts Council

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Gray and Kelly eminate star quality

COME [DY THE ODD COUPLE Byre Theatre, St Andrews, until Sat 7 Sep, then touring 000

Anyone who has stayed in a student flat will know the scenario. Discarded fast-food cartons, dirty clothes, stray newspapers . . . a place for the genuinely clarty. This is the sight that confronts us with Rebecca Minto’s design in Ken Alexander’s production of Neil Simon’s 1965 Broadway hit at the Byre.

It’s the flat of Oscar Madison (Andy Gray), 3 recently-divorced sportswriter with alimony-related poverty problems and a generally slobbish disposition. His neurotic, anally-retentive best pal Felix Unger (Gerard Kelly) interrupts a fairly desultory poker game with the boys, announcing that he’s been thrown out by his wife. The two decide to live in Oscar’s revolting flat, and it’s much improved by Felix’s fastidiousness and good cooking. All the same, tempers are bound to fray, and after a disastrous attempt at a double date with two English sisters from the same apartment block (Gail Watson and Claire Knight) fall-outs and emotional damage follow.

But it’s Neil Simon, so it won’t get too bad. This production’s attempt to relocate the play from New York to Glasgow is only partially successful. While familiar American brand names and customs are easily replaced by local objects and the like, the idea of people suffering from the extreme heat of Glasgow seems implausible, while the various bits of Gershwin and other American composers in the music don’t sit easily with the Weege.

Gray and Kelly mug their way outrageously through the piece, as much well-known stage and TV performers as characters, but this seemed to work with the Byre audience. There are some good supporting performances, particularly from Gail Watson as one of the prim-but-suggestive English sisters, and Barry Hunter and John Paul Hurley as two mates who become pocket-versions of Oscar and Felix. This piece doesn’t rise to any great heights, but the star quality on display should play well to its natural audience. (Steve Cramer)

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