Submit Event

From the Noticeboard

Let’s Talk About Cycling

The City of Charlottetown will set up the third “Let’s Talk About Cycling” pop-up during Park( [ ... ]

Macphail Homestead Tours

Tours of the Homestead take place Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm. Book by contacting 902-651-2789 o [ ... ]

Scott Burke directs MacFadden and Smith as Oscar and Felix

by Natalie Pendergast

Erskine Smith, Jenna MacMillan, Gill Mahen, Bill MacFadden, with director Scott Burke (below)The Victoria Playhouse opens its 25th summer season with Neil Simon’s legendary comedy The Odd Couple, now an updated version entitled Oscar & Felix. Although the pairing of Oscar Madison and Felix Ungar may be odd, the union of acting duo Bill McFadden and Erskine Smith is a perfect match. Fifteen years ago, McFadden and Smith starred in the same roles in the Playhouse’s original production of Simon’s classic, and their performance was met with so much success that they have decided to repeat history. “They wanted to reunite Erskine and Bill and revisit a big hit production,” says director Scott Burke.

Though The Odd Couple has always filled seats, the version set to hit the stage this summer has been tweaked a bit. “It is set today,” says Burke. “Back in 1965 divorce was a little less prevalent than it is today.” Simon has also changed the ethnicity of the women with whom Oscar and Felix go on their famous date, a switch that adds even more room for humour. “In the original play they were English girls, the Pigeon sisters, and in this version they are Spanish girls, they’re the Costazuela sisters,” explains Burke, “So that gives a lot of opportunity for mixing up of languages and translating from English to Spanish. It’s really a great source of comedy in the second act.”

What remains unchanged in the script are the qualities that make this production a timeless hit: excellent writing, and real sentimentality sans corny clichés. For Burke, the quality of Simon’s vision made the play an attractive directorial opportunity. “We kind of take [Neil Simon] for grated. He gets maligned a lot I think,” He says, “But he’s really actually a brilliant, brilliant writer. This original play really chronicled an important time in American history about men growing up. Their wives have thrown them out and they have to figure out why they were thrown out and how they can grow up and be better people. And I think that actually speaks of something about America; some things that haven’t actually changed and some things that have changed, but it really speaks about something much bigger than fun and games with two divorced guys.”

As delighted as he is to direct Oscar and Felix, Burke is equally pleased with his cast. Having first met Smith in 1998 when he directed Scavengers at the Victoria Playhouse, he has always kept in touch. When Smith suggested McFadden for the role of Oscar, Burke agreed he was the one. What makes the play such a pleasure to direct, says Burke, is the ease with which Smith falls into his character’s shoes. “He’s one of the big draws to the theatre here. People come to see Erskine!” Says Burke, “[With] recognizable characters, great laughs, I think it’s a good chance for the Victoria Playhouse to celebrate its past and present.”

Shows run from June 22 to July 22 at the Victoria Playhouse, Victoria, PEI.

Events Calendar

September 2018
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Some Upcoming Events

Summer 1993

September 21–26
City Cinema PG, some language, mature content
Dir: Carla Simón, Spain, 98 min. Lai [ ... ]

Jim Cuddy Trio

September 30
Harbourfront Theatre The Jim Cuddy Trio comes to Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside on  [ ... ]

Hip Hop at Holland College

Snak the Ripper and others at Florence Simmons September 22
Florence Simmons Performance Hall   [ ... ]

Recent News & Articles

Drawing the line

Profile: Sandy Carruthers by Jane Ledwell Retired for a year now after twenty-five years teaching  [ ... ]

Free transportation at Cloggeroo

The provincial government will sponsor free transportation at this year’s Cloggeroo festival to he [ ... ]

Charlottetown’s Historic Squares exhibit...

The City of Charlottetown Planning and Heritage Department has created an exhibit exploring the hist [ ... ]