MEMORIES: Tugun Theatre Company presents madcap comedy The Odd Couple, starring Chris Hawkins as Felix Ungar, directed by Tracey Kriz.
MEMORIES: Tugun Theatre Company presents madcap comedy The Odd Couple, starring Chris Hawkins as Felix Ungar, directed by Tracey Kriz. Dan Ryan

Bringing back '70s fun with The Odd Couple

THE Odd Couple director Tracey Kriz hasn't directed a play for almost 10 years, but couldn't resist the pull of this classic Neil Simon favourite with Tugun Theatre Company.

"Neil Simon died last year, so this is a bit of an homage to him," she said.

"It's so funny, and at the same time sad at times ... a wonderful example of his beautiful writing and the characters he created."

Tracey is well known on the Coast, having worked with most theatre companies, including Tweed, Javeenbah, Spotlight, Gold Coast Little Theatre and Tugun, singing, dancing, choreographing, acting and directing over the years.

She was also a music, drama and dance teacher and artistic and choral director at Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar at Tweed Heads for many years, as well as being involved in the Gold Coast Eisteddfod and adjudication.

"That's one of the nice things about doing this - I know every facet and what's meant to happen from both sides of the stage," Tracey said.

"I'm really excited about this cast ... I know them all, they are really gifted and I targeted people who are very different to each other and each have their own quirkiness."

Tracey said she also loved working with the Tugun Theatre Company, with whom she acted in It Runs in the Family a few years ago, in what she said was "one of the most wonderful experiences I've had in theatre for a long time ..."

"They're a beautiful theatre company, very supportive and community-based ... a really nice group of people," she said.

Now, if you are of an age, just hearing the words "The Odd Couple" will have the theme song of the 1970s TV series starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman echoing through your brain.

And Tracey said the play is not so different, based around the fun-loving slob, sports writer Oscar and his uptight and tidy housemate Felix, their bunch of friends and the trouble they get into trying to reconcile their differences.

"Just hearing the theme brings back memories of watching it on TV with Mum and Dad, and them going to friends' places for card games every Saturday night," Tracey said.

She is presenting the play slightly differently, taking down "the fourth wall" and inviting the audience into the action by never closing the curtains - revealing scene changes and other movements from which we are usually shut off.

"I think older audiences will love it," she said.

The Odd Couple stars David Fraser as Oscar Madison, Chris Hawkins as Felix Ungar, as well as Ian Lake, Graeme Stuckings, Grant Ebeling, Pamela Payne and Gai Byrne, and Tracey said to watch out for relative newcomer Rory Impellizzeri as Murray.

The Odd Couple runs February 7-23 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7.30pm and Saturdays 9 and 16 at 2pm. Phone 0449788486 to book.

For more about Tugun Theatre Company, phone 0402 608 892 or find them on Facebook.

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