This “Couple” delivers the goods

Lisa Woske and her cast and crew deliver the goods with this production of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple.

So . . . it never really gets old. Seeing the enduring humor that playwright Neil Simon finds in the foibles of human relationships is a familiar and fascinating thing. Seeing it presented live on a local stage, in the able hands of an inventive director and quite an amiable group of performers, is a genuine pleasure.

Ed Cardoza as Oscar and Tim Linzey as Felix star in “The Odd Couple.”

Accordingly, you should make your reservations as soon as possible for Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple at By the Sea Productions in Morro Bay. This performance is a feast of fastidiousness and fun, thanks to the delightfully finicky Tim Linzey playing Felix and the dexterous Ed Cardoza as Oscar, who contorts his face into so many different scrunches in response to Felix that his facial muscles must be exhausted by the end of each performance.

Farce of the very best kind is on display in full force throughout, thanks not only to the title characters, but also to the entire very strong cast of performers that director Lisa Woske has assembled to support them. For example, the loquacious quartet of friends surrounding Felix and Oscar provide amusing commentary on the situation as the new roommates adjust to each other, but each actor contributes in his own way to the ensuing laughs.

The giggling delight that Brett Mermer as Vinnie takes in the guys’ regular poker games is infectious, and David Rousseve as Roy the accountant is a serious worrywart with appropriately perfect timing. Hank Wethington and Dan Costley as Murray and Speed, also displaying their comic chops, lend a physical prowess to their roles that helps make this group of guys, well, act like a group of guys, especially when confronted with a wildly anxious Felix who must decide whether he can go on living when his marriage falls apart.

Then there’s the Pigeons, played by Jenny Beck and Sarah Ruth Smith in full bloom as the upstairs neighbors who confound Oscar while cooing over Felix. They deserve an ovation all their own, and appreciative audiences have been responding in kind. 

Embracing their English accents with delicious skill, and vying with each other as to who can coo and cackle the loudest, Beck and Smith are perfectly matched as sisters who ultimately provide the answer to the playwright’s dilemma: how can Oscar and Felix, two so mismatched roommates, survive without killing each other—at least before the end of the show?

Lisa Woske and her cast and crew deliver the goods with this production of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. It’s a finely-tuned show, contributing to the solid reputation that By the Sea Productions is building as a community theatre that attracts quality talent while using limited resources in imaginative and crowd-pleasing ways.

Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple is playing now through February 16 at By the Sea Productions, 545 Shasta Avenue, Morro Bay. Tickets here or call 805-776-3287.