Wootton High School's Center for the Arts presented a thoroughly delightful rendition of Neil Simon's female version of "The Odd Couple" last weekend, to be followed this weekend by a performance of the original, male version. Simon's 1985 adaptation of his original play tells the story of a divorced, self-proclaimed slob, Olive, who takes in "neat freak" Florence when her marriage falls apart.

As patrons filed into the theater, popular music from the 1980s was played. The curtains slowly opened on the appropriately messy apartment of Olive (Jenny Wyron). The show began with a game of Trivial Pursuit between four of Olive's close friends, Mickey (Megan Keane), Renee (Sarah Ritwo), Vera (Kelly Cook) and Sylvie (Nevie Brooks), whose onstage chemistry provided an energy-filled start to the show.

Cook's portrayal of the stereotypical "airhead" was fantastic, her comedic timing providing for a majority of the laughs during the first act. In contrast, the sarcastic and somewhat frustrated responses of Keane, Ritwo and Brooks were well played, effectively setting up a number of hilarious situations.

One of the most enjoyable moments of the evening occurred upon the arrival of grief-stricken Florence (Allison Grekin), as the women attempt to restrain her from doing something drastic as a response to her recent separation. Director Stan Brodsky had the cast running circles about the apartment in carefully choreographed chaos. Grekin portrayed the distraught and at times overdramatic Florence to perfection. As Olive, Wyron's attempts to maintain patience in response to Grekin's frequent complaints were well played.

Another dynamic duo was Manolo (Andrew Goldstein) and Jesus (Alex Marston), Olive's neighbors from Spain who are invited to dine with the two women one evening. Goldstein and Marston, donning neon-colored ensembles, were entertaining as they attempted to get to know the women despite a significant language barrier.

Wootton's technicians cannot go without recognition because there wasn't a sound or lighting problem to be found throughout the performance. Together, the talented actors and technicians made Wootton's performance of the female "Odd Couple" outstanding.

Emily Schmitt

Magruder High School

What do you get when you put a careless slob and a meticulously clean stickler for detail together as roommates? An odd couple with hilarious results!

This is exactly what Wootton High School conveyed in its production of Neil Simon's female version of "The Odd Couple." Neil Simon's remake of the original classic revolves around two divorced women, Olive (Jenny Wyron) and Florence (Allison Grekin), who live together but can't stand each other's habits.

Wyron dominated the stage with her charming presence and captivated the audience's attention throughout the entire show. Although it was apparent that Wyron was comfortable with her wisecracking character, she failed to effectively portray the "slob" of her character at times.

However, her outstanding comedic timing made up for this minor shortcoming. Grekin's portrayal of Florence, the whining and fastidious fusspot recently separated from her husband, was the perfect complement to Wyron's performance. Although Grekin's portrayal was a bit overdone with her exaggerated movements, she successfully captured the spirit of her character.

The show started off with a sense of energy, only to be overtaken by a slow-moving second act with a lack of development in Wyron's and Grekin's characters. However, with the arrival of Manolo (Andrew Goldstein) and Jesus (Alex Marston), Spanish brothers who accompany Olive and Florence to dinner one night, the show picked up its vigor. Goldstein's and Marston's noteworthy performances of the non-English speaking brothers showed the epitome of cultures clashing. With their flamboyant characters, these two, the only males in the show, were favorites of the audience.

The technical aspects of the show also were handled very well, with '80s music in the background and the costumes capturing the time period. Furthermore, the eye-catching set deserves mention alone because of its simple yet attractive elegance.

Raakhee Sharma

Magruder High School

From left, Kelly Cook, Allison Grekin and Megan Keane play for laughs in Wootton High School's rendition of the female version of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple." The school will perform the male version this weekend.