The show opens in the cancer ward at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC. The sound of heart-rate monitors and respiration machines provides the background as Karla visits her mom, Marcie. Even though Marcie is asleep in her hospital bed, Karla begins practicing her new standup material out loud. “I’ve been single for so long, I’m having wet dreams about my vibrator.” Her jokes are often very blue and dark and they provide just the right amount of comic relief needed in this setting. There are many more great one-liners throughout the show which are simply too good to spoil. On the other side of the room, separated by a curtain, Don is visiting his mother, Geena. He overhears the stand-up bits and is shocked by their content. The crowd cracks up as he paces around the room trying to decide how to respond. Eventually, he does confront Karla, but not by moving to her side of the room. Instead, he scolds her through the curtain. This results in a hilarious scene as they both make assumptions about each other simply based on their voices.
Mary Williamson is excellent as Karla. She comes to the role of playing a foul-mouthed comedienne naturally considering she has experience doing just that as the host of the Fly Honey Show. For two weeks, these shows overlap and she tackles both in a night. Fortunately they are both in the same venue, the Den Theatre.
Stef Tovar is fantastic as Don. His facial expressions in the opening scene are priceless. He’s quite comical and he also plays the dramatic scenes very real as he reflects on his relationships with his wife and son throughout the show.
Meg Thalken is terrific as Marcie. The dynamic between Karla and Marcie is spot-on and their interactions highlight their complicated relationship even in the midst of Marcie’s diagnosis. She is very critical of her daughter, which definitely draws a reaction from the crowd.
Judy Lea Steele plays Geena with style. The role is small, but every line she delivers is hilarious. The role is reminiscent of the Silent Bob character from the Kevin Smith movies.
This play seamlessly mixes humor and drama perfectly. Get tickets now for A Funny Thing… through September 23rd! You won’t be disappointed! Or, if you are in LA, catch it at the Geffen Playhouse between September 5th and October 8th!