Canadian-born playwright Bernard Slade's first big Broadway hit, Same Time, Next Year (1975), made adultery seem almost wholesome, just a little harmless slap and tickle between the sheets at a romantic California country inn. Nevermind the unsuspecting spouses stuck at home taking care of the children.
This charming but amoral two-character show, performed Feb. 14-March 1 by OdysseyStage of Chapel Hill, NC, chronicled a series of one-night stands that took place once a year, over 25 years, from 1951 to 1975. Sheila Outhwaite and Larry Evans starred as an unfulfilled and sexually inexperienced California housewife and a hopelessly romantic New Jersey accountant seeking to spice up his sex life.
Sheila Outhwaite, who was absolutely brilliant as the imperious Lady Bracknell in OdysseyStage's recent production of The Importance of Being Earnest, was wonderfully warm and witty as Doris, a high school dropout spurred on during her adulterous relationship to get her diploma, take college courses, and even start her own successful catering business.
Larry Evans was likewise very good as George, who was insecure when he embarked on this series of one-night-a-year infidelities and only slightly less insecure when he finally tried to coerce Doris into divorcing her husband marrying him in 1975.
Evans and Outhwaite had great chemistry and director Candace Rohm got great performances from both of them. With inspired direction, first-rate acting, a nicely detailed set (by Rohm, Evans, and others), and flashy period fashions by Melanie Miller, the recent OdysseyStage production of Same Time, Next Year was a real crowd-pleaser.