WHAT “A Funny Thing Happened …”
WHERE Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher St.
INFO $49-$69; 212-352-3101; mcctheater.org
BOTTOM LINE Abrasive romantic comedy in moms’ cancer hospital
Two mothers are lying, apparently asleep, in hospital beds in a shared room in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City.” The women’s adult children visit, meet cute and argue with one another with obnoxious obliviousness to the needs of sick people in this romantic comedy by Halley Feiffer.
If this seems improbable, it is no doubt the intention of Feiffer, the accomplished daughter of writer/cartoonist Jules Feiffer and writer Jennifer Allen. Karla (played with arch wounded jollity by Beth Behrs of “2 Broke Girls”) is an abrasive, struggling stand-up comic who writes raunchy “bits” at her mother’s bedside. Don (Erik Lochtefeld) is a multimillionaire sad sack whose wife just left him for a woman.
The message, I suppose, is that needy people can be rich or poor and there’s someone to love the most unlovable. More interesting, potentially, are the mothers—including the always-formidable Lisa Emery as a worn-out, nasty single mom, and Jacqueline Sydney, who never speaks but whose expressions suggest she hears everything. I would have preferred to hear what she has to say.