"The Odd Couple (Female Version)" is supposed to give women a chance to shine.
But in Modesto Junior College's production, the men steal the show.
Bryce Duzan and David Garcia, who play the flirtatious Costazuela brothers, deliver the biggest laughs with their over-done Spanish accents, loud suits and seductive expressions.
Think Steve Martin and Dan Akroyd's "Saturday Night Live" skit, "Two Wild and Crazy Guys," and you'll get what these guys are like.
The clueless Spanish immigrants appear only in the second act where they date mismatched roommates Olive (Kara Ow), a relaxed slob, and Florence (Jamie Hudson), an uptight neat freak.
While Ow and Hudson have funny moments, their comic timing is sometimes off. Their endless fighting becomes monotonous because they don't vary the tone of their arguments enough.
As directed by Jim Johnson and Charles Mullins, the show's pacing lags, a bad thing for a comedy that should feel light and breezy.
One of Neil Simon's most popular plays, "Odd Couple" debuted in 1965 on Broadway with main characters Oscar and Felix. The movie starred Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. The show became a movie and then a TV series starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. In 1985, Simon debuted a female version of the play starring Rita Moreno and Sally Struthers.
While the male version is rarely done in the Central Valley or Sierra foothills, the female version has been staged once a year since 2004 by some theater company or school. All the groups have an abundance of female talent and a shortage of male talent.
Though the MJC production needs some fine tuning, it got laughs throughout Saturday night's performance. Kristina Stinson, Jessica Armendarez, Sarah Thomas and Crystal Backoff are upbeat and quirky as Florence and Olive's friends.
Ty Van Helton did a fine job creating a detailed living room set to serve as Olive's apartment, where everything in the play takes place.
The show is by far the most fun when Duzan and Garcia are onstage. Too bad their scenes are so brief.
Bee arts writer Lisa Millegan can be reached at 578-2313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
'The Odd Couple'
Where: Cabaret West, Modesto Junior College West Campus, Blue Gum Avenue
Running time: 2½ hours, including an intermission
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $10 general admission, $8 students and seniors
Information: 575-6776; video