Venue: The Scented Garden, St Ann’s Well Gardens, Hove
Reviewer: Barrie Jerram
Publication: The Argus – Tuesday, July 21, 2009
“Pulling out all the comedy stops
NEIL SIMON’S successful Broadway play begat a film, a TV series and now Incisor Productions are staging a female version outdoors.
It took Simon a while to agree to such an idea but having given into pressure, he wisely undertook to rewrite the play himself rather than leave it to any lesser hands. So Oscar the slob becomes Olive whilst neurotic and obsessive Felix is now Florence, each bearing the same traits as their originals.
Now having seen this version previously, I came with little idea of how much rewriting had been done to reflect the gender changes. The result provides an entertaining and funny evening.
The men’s poker game becomes a Trivial Pursuit competition with the girl’s wisecracking and bitching around until the arrival of Florence who has been dumped, not surprisingly, by her husband. Divorced Olive invites her to move in – a move soon regretted as domestic changes are forced on her.
Desperate for male company, she arranges a double date with two neighbours –Spanish brothers with shaky English. Florence prepares a special dinner that does not go quite to plan. However, the play contains a nice twist at the end.
Caron McNish is masterly in her performance of Olive, capturing the New York idiom well with her wisecrack deliveries. But it is Florence who steals the scenes and Sarah Mann plays it with all stops out to hilarious effect.
They receive good support from the rest of the cast in this well-balanced production.”