Neil Simon's reverse gender version of his most famous comedy, The Odd Couple, has posted early closing notices. The Female Odd Couple, starring Jenny Seagrove and Paula Wilcox, opened at the West End's Apollo Theatre on 23 April 2001, following a regional tour and previews from 17 April. It had been booking to 17 November but will now end on 23 June after a run of two months.

The Female Odd Couple makes way for John Doyle's reworking of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers which, as just announced last week, was due to open on 21 June at the Lyric Theatre. Instead, the operetta will now commence previews at the Apollo from 27 June.

Neil Simon had one of his early Broadway hits with The Odd Couple in 1965. After the success of the film, The Odd Couple also became a long-running 1970s television series, starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. In the 1980s, Simon rewrote the comedy himself for a fresh Broadway outing, this time with two female leads, Florence and Olive, replacing Felix and Oscar.

Instead of men playing poker, the revised version features women playing Trivial Pursuit. Fearing that Florence (Wilcox) may be suicidal after her recent break-up with her husband, the girls interrupt their game to make Olive's apartment safe for her. As the chronically untidy Olive (Seagrove) and the pathologically neat Florence decide to share living quarters and look for romance, the patterns of their disastrous marriages re-appear. Throw in the young Spanish studs from upstairs and life gets very interesting for the two mismatched flatmates.

The Female Odd Couple is directed by Elijah Moshinsky, whose West End hits include Cyrano de Bergerac with Robert Lindsay and Shadowlands with Nigel Hawthorne (also on Broadway). The cast for The Female Odd Couple also includes Tracey Childs, Hilary Crane, Sue Holderness and Lavinia Bertram.

- by Terri Paddock