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The Prisoner of Second Avenue

The Prisoner of Second Avenue

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Edna and Mel are a struggling, middle-aged couple living in New York City. The apartment they live in has plumbing problems, walls that are too thin, garbage that piles up, high crime and they are in the middle of a heatwave. Mel loses his job and finds it hard to come to terms with being older and unemployed. When they are robbed, their problems escalate and Mel suffers a nervous breakdown. Edna tries to support her husband and gets a job to pay the rent. However, it isn’t enough and Mel’s siblings are called in before things become worse.


The Prisoner of Second Avenue  by Neil Simon is an hilarious play which premiered on Broadway  on November 11, 1971.   Clive Barnes, in The New York Times, wrote that "it is, I think, the most honestly amusing comedy that Mr. Simon has so far given us."


The play ran in the West End at the Vaudeville Theatre, produced by Old Vic Company/Old Vic Productions and Sonia Friedman Productions, opening on June 30, 2010.  The film version of The Prisoner of Second Avenue starred Jack Lemmon, Anne Bancroft and Gene Saks.


Described as “Simon’s comedy turns darker”, the play is set in the early 1970s in an apartment in New York City.   Mel and Edna, a middle aged couple, struggle with city life, high crime, strikes, unemployment, financial problems, faulty plumbing and noisy neighbours.