A Funny Thing Happened…


“I’m so single I’ve been having wet dreams about my vibrator”

A review by Tanya Howard

To be precise the full title of the play is called A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Gynecologic Unit At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Of New York, and is the story of two strangers in a two bed hospital room, divided by a curtain, visiting their mothers who are fighting cancer.

The scene opens with Karla reading some of her comedy material to her mother, material about being single so long that she now dreams about her vibrator and being raped by it. As she in midst of deciding whether rape is too harsh of a word, she is interrupted by an appalled man, Don, on the other side of the curtain.

After some back and forth mutual antagonism ending with Karla pulling down Don’s trousers and them both realising how ridiculous their row was, apologising and laughing, they slowly become friends. An unlikely pairing, Karla the defensive comedian, and Don, the dishevelled tech millionaire, they seek comfort in each other whilst trying to hide their own family secrets.

Don’s wife recently left him, and he has a son who hates him with a severe drug habit, whilst Karla lost her sister to an overdose and since her death her mother has made it clear that she preferred her sister and puts Karla down whenever she has the chance. The role of Marcie, Karla’s mum, is an interesting role as it fights the myth of a gallant cancer sufferer and is great to see an alternative way to cope with the disease and how even at a time like this family issues don’t just disappear.

The four actors, Cariad Lloyd, Rob Crouch, Kristin Milward and Cara Chase, all worked really well together and give it up to Kristin and Cara who had to spend a good portion of the play still in bed playing the sleeping cancer suffered taken down by the array of medication they are on. At times it was slightly predictable in the way the story was going but not so much that it took away from it being an enjoyable watch.

One moment not so predictable though, and I would advise sitting on the left if you want full accessibility, was the moment where Karla and Don end up having sex in the disabled toilets with their mums able to hear from their room. It managed to be an unwatchable but can’t take your eyes off it moment and had the audience laughing at the right moments. All in all it was an enjoyable show and is showing at the Finborough Theatre until 27th October.

Photo Credit: James O Jenkins