Don't expect anything new in the Costa Mesa production, just appreciate the tried and true, which is elevated not only by the two dissimilar principals but also by a fine supporting cast, including two of the finest and funniest Pigeon sisters to grace a local stage.
The role of Oscar Madison, the slovenly sportswriter, calls for a blunt, bombastic performer, and JP Sarro is just what Doc Simon ordered. The burly Sarro dominates the stage, both physically and vocally, rattling the rafters in a splendid performance which, thankfully, is modulated when required.
The contrasting Felix Unger, a part composed of neatnik tics and exposed nerve endings, is beautifully rendered by Shaun Leslie Thomas, who stands his ground admirably and gives as good as he gets from Oscar. His weepy scene with the "coo coo Pigeon" sisters is a particular scream.
Of the four visiting poker players, Jeff Bickel stands out as the bow-tied nebbish Vinnie, who visits Miami in the summer for the cheap hotel rates. Had Thomas not auditioned, Bickel probably would have made an excellent Felix.
Travis Stolp also is quite strong as Murray, the concerned cop, while Ed Chen and Stefan Marchand lend fine support to complete the contingent of bickering comrades.
Then there are Darcy Porter and Brigette O'Leary as the English women in an upstairs apartment whom Oscar invites for a "double date" dinner. Both actresses embellish their roles with inspired giggling and spot-on accents that amplify their innate sexiness.
Director Serna also designed the suitable apartment setting, which must be alternately messed up and rendered spotless. Ian Foreman's fine lighting effects and John McQuay's terrific sound programming of Sixties favorites (the TV "Odd Couple" theme doesn't arrive until the end) further enhance the production.
There probably won't be a playhouse patron who isn't familiar with "The Odd Couple" in one incarnation or another, but they'll be thankful for the memories after this excellent laugh-filled production.
If You Go
What: "The Odd Couple"
Where: Costa Mesa Playhouse, 611 Hamilton St., Costa Mesa
When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 29
Cost: $18 to $16
Call: (949) 650-5269