By Bradley Tyler
For the Transylvania Times 

BLT's Latest Comedy Pulses With Laughter – Brevard NC


BLT cast members rehearse "The Odd Couple (Female Version)," which opens June 3. (Courtesy photo)

When life gets messy, it may be a slob who helps you clean it up.

That's the lesson Florence Unger learns from her roommate Olive Madison in Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple (Female Version)," opening June 3 at Brevard Little Theatre, 55 E. Jordan Street, in Brevard.

Simon may be known for his talent writing comedy, but the cast that Brevard Little Theatre has brought together for this production brings the playwright's intended hilarity to a whole new level.

Olive, a TV news producer who hosts weekly games of Trivial Pursuit with her girlfriends at her unkempt New York apartment, is played by BLT veteran actress Heather Snipes. Snipes portrays the sloppy, divorcée made famous by the role of Oscar Madison in Simon's original "The Odd Couple," with fiery conviction and on-time delivery of punch lines in a hyperbolic, yet genuine, New York accent.

Snipe's quick wit is accentuated by her game-playing and gossip-sharing girlfriends. Sally Burnett, who plays the role of Mickey – a stereotypical New York cop – brings a dose of real-world reality to the play with her brilliantly portrayed impatience and amusing tales from her street beat. Susan Lidsky, also a BLT mainstay, plays Vera and nails the character's frugal nature in a witty way with quirky facial expressions that make the audience laugh out loud.

Elizabeth Thompson, a theater newcomer, comically entertains with her character Renee's feminist battle cries of equal pay and independence – a clear juxtaposition of the other characters' reliance on men.

Rounding out the supporting cast of female characters is Jennie Moore, who takes on the role of Sylvie, a chain-smoking, tell-it-like-it-is New Yorker, with necessary (and facetious) gruffness.

The ladies are enjoying one-upping each other during their game, when they learn their friend, Florence, played by Amy Shute, and her husband of 14 years have split. Shute's portrayal of Florence's compulsive tendencies and hypochondria brings belly laughter to the audience that wanes with the type of smile that sticks on your face until the next outburst.

As Olive and Florence transition from friends needing each other's support to keep from backsliding into unhealthy relationships and loneliness to companions ready to start a new chapter with new relationships, they decide to invite their neighbors, the Costazuela brothers, over for dinner and drinks. The Spanish brothers, Manolo and Jesus, are played by Steve Woodsmall and Mark Thompson, respectively. If the ladies' antics make your cheeks hurt, the guys give you an unexpected ab workout with their characters' misuse and misunderstanding of the English language, marked by hilarious innuendos.

As co-directors and producers of this uproarious show, Carol Hamann and Terry Moore seem to have adapted to their debuts in these behind-the-scenes roles. Both have appeared on the BLT stage, which may be one reason this show pulses with laugh after laugh.

If you're looking for well-produced entertainment coupled with just plain fun, "The Odd Couple (Female Version)" at BLT won't disappoint. Go see it and try to wipe that smile off your face!


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