Playwright Jeff Gould seems to have a special talent for writing comedies about couples. Sex and marriage have always intrigued Gould – and now he is turning to divorce. After a string of successful plays including “It’s Just Sex,” “Is There Sex After Marriage?” and “The Marriage Zone,” Gould decided it was time to examine the dynamics of marriages that don’t make it. Originally developed by SkyPilot Theatre Company and scheduled to open in March 2020, a funny thing happened on the way to the opening of A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO DIVORCE. But, not to be deterred by a little thing like a worldwide pandemic, this elusive play finally found a home at the Two Roads Theatre, where it opened to July fireworks – just a week late.
Six people sit in the stark meeting room, all waiting for a divorce mediator to settle their differences and end their misery. Like you, they begin to wonder what happened to make three once-loving couples tear their marriages asunder. In the course of some intriguing exchanges, nice guy Brian (Ian Nemser) finds out that his soon-to-be-ex Carol (Laura Walker) might have been searching for something a little friskier in their sex life. Just maybe she’s found it – at least on her cell phone. Meanwhile, they play tug-of-war over the television remote. On the other hand, attorney Ken (Anthony Backman) may have been a little too frisky for Tanya (Bri Anna Wagner), his sexy wife – that is, too frisky with the wrong partner. But the angrier they get, the hotter their relationship grows. Go figure. Meanwhile, taciturn Doug (Corbin Timbrook) bides his time with one word remarks aimed at his therapist wife Angie (Marie Pettit Gregson). Each person in the room has had some time to figure out blame, shame, and guilt with perfect precision. All the while waiting for that elusive divorce mediator who manages to do his job even when not there.
Director Marc Antonio Pritchett does a skillful job of fielding these free-for-all marital battles with an eye to their inherent humor – but also to their potentially poignant underpinnings. A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO DIVORCE is, above all, a hilarious and witty study of marriage with all its stresses and strengths. At the same time, the play is about very real, believable people facing the loss of life plans they made for their happily-ever-after, plans they never expected to end so abruptly.
Kudos to a supremely talented and professional cast who wring every chuckle and every tear out of playwright Gould’s lines. From the stingy plain set waiting for emotional volcanoes to lend it color to Douglas Gabrielle’s clever lighting pinpointing the different stages of every relationship, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO DIVORCE knocks the ball out of the park. This is a production for everyone – dating couples, couples planning a happily-ever-after wedding, happily married couples, happily (or unhappily) divorced couples, and anyone and everyone who enjoys a good show which is entertaining, often uproarious, and enlightening as it digs into the inner workings of its characters. You’re in for a treat.
A FUNNY THINGS HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO DIVORCE runs through September 11, 2022, with performances at 8 p.m. on Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. The Two Roads Theatre is located at 4348 Tujunga Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604. Tickets are $40. For information and reservations, go online.