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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 October 2005, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Mixed reviews for Producers duo
Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in The Odd Couple
Lane and Broderick's show is sold out until April
The Producers stars Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane have got mixed opening night reviews on their return to Broadway for their show The Odd Couple.

A record $20m (11.2m) has been paid in advance bookings after the huge success of their double act in The Producers.

The Toronto Star said, "sure-fire comic dialogue falls flat" while The Daily News said, "when it falls apart, it just seems like another failed joke."

Neil Simon's 1965 play was also a hit 1968 movie and a TV series in the 70s.

The highly successful film version famously starred Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.

Nathan Lane (left) and Lee Evans in The Producers
Lane starred alongside Lee Evans in London's The Producers

The latest stage version, which is sold out until April, was expected to be a huge success, but the New York Sun said it comprised "a handful of decent laughs from two stars staying firmly in their comfort zone".

The New York Times said Lane and Broderick became the "Redford and Newman" of Broadway after they starred in The Producers.

But in The Odd Couple, Broderick's tidying fanatic Felix Unger and Lane's slovenly Oscar Madison did not convince him.

"The humour in the Odd Couple is rooted in watching ordinary guys equipped with an extraordinary arsenal of zingers," its reviewer Ben Brantley said.

'Hilarious play'

He described Lane and Broderick as "too stagey to pull it off", adding their roles were so similar to their Producers parts that "you wonder where the songs are."

But some of the critics enjoyed the show, with the Washington Post saying: "It all goes down surprisingly smoothly".

The New York Post called it "a hilarious play", saying "audiences will not be disappointed."

And many critics said the fact it was sold out meant their comments were "irrelevant". Its advance ticket sales are the highest recorded for a non-musical.

The Producers, a musical adapted by actor and comic Mel Brooks, won 12 Tony awards and set ticket sales records. It is now being produced as a film featuring its Broadway stars.

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