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Middle Village group presents Neil Simon – QNS.com

Middle Village group presents Neil Simon

By Daniel Arimborgo

Most of us are already familiar with two particular men who couldn’t live together without driving each other crazy, but did you know Neil Simon wrote a female-scripted version of the Odd Couple as well?

After the success of the original, Simon did in fact follow up with a female version, called “The Female Odd Couple,” about eight years later, according to Debbie Bendana, who co-produces a production of it with husband Rene at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Middle Village. The show has two final performances there Saturday and Sunday.

Like her male counterpart’s character, the newly-single Olive Madison (Donna Azerad), plays a sports reporter recently separated from her husband. Karen Schlachter plays Florence Unger, Olive’s hysterically neurotic neat-freak girlfriend who moves in with her after she is dumped by her husband. In the process she takes over Olive’s home life, and drives her crazy with her constant whining, nagging, and complaints about sinus and back problems.

Instead of cards, the group of friends, Sylvie (Pauline Baratta), Mickey (Genny O'Hare), Renee (Stacey Romano), and Vera (Patty Marrs-Voison) play a weekly game of Trivial Pursuit, which grows shorter by the week as Unger becomes an increasing pest.

And instead of the Pigeon sisters, the double-dates from England, we have the Costazuela brothers, Manolo and Jesus (Mark Lord and John Baratta), two neighboring tenants from Spain who work for a Spanish airline in the city.

Olive wants a romantic evening and gets the reluctant Florence to join in. The language barrier creates some funny moments, as exchanges between the couples get lost in translation, and Florence’s striving for sympathy over her breakup eventually ruins the evening.

The play ages well, the dialogue is still snappy, and yes, you even get to hear that great theme music again.

The last two performances of “The Female Odd Couple” are Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 4 p.m., at Trinity Lutheran Church, 63-70 Dry Harbor Road in Middle Village, located near the intersection of Dry Harbor and Penelope Avenue. Both the Q38 and the Q29 stop conveniently near the church. Call 736-1263 for tickets.

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