Although they aren’t nearly as dysfunctional as the narrator and the old man with the “vulture eye” in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” or Allie and Hedy in “Single White Female,” Oscar Madison and Felix Ungar make up a lousy pair of roommates in Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple.
But however rave the reviews are of Theater J’s version of the play — and some have seriously gushed — they all, like the note from Theater J Artistic Director Ari Roth in the playbill, avoid altogether the question of “The Odd Couple”’s Jewishness (or lack thereof).
“We don’t get too much straight male-bonding on our stages these days,” Roth writes. “Not with this degree of hilarity. So welcome back to Friday Night Poker and Neil Simon’s Original Men’s Club.” The closest Roth gets to a Jewish take on the play is a reference to restoring faith, but he means the play’s ability to restore faith in “our collective imperfectability,” adding that we are all “wonderful snobs and persnickety control freaks.”