A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE GYNECOLOGIC ONCOLOGY UNIT AT MEMORIAL SLOAN KETTERING CANCER CENTER OF NEW YORK CITY | London, Finborough Theatre

This new, acclaimed Off-Broadway play by Halley Feiffer is a boy-meets-girl two-hander black comedy with a difference: boy meets girl in a hospital room, both visiting their semi-comatose mothers, who are both suffering from life-threatening ovarian cancer. (So actually a four-hander.)

Kristin Milward completely steals the show as bed-bound Marcie, the brash, acerbic mother of wannabe hipster stand-up Karla (Cariad Lloyd). Her masterful performance is both extremely funny and profoundly real.

Feiffer’s writing takes some risks: hospitals are not fun places to be, and there is no central conflict. However, as each character learns more about themselves, the dynamic between them all keeps switching in exciting and unexpected ways, some of which are very funny.

The production design (Isabella Van Braeckel) is so detailed and naturalistic, in such a tiny studio space, it’s almost triggering. On stage, the action is a twisted combo of intense drama with lots of pauses, and surreal slapstick. For audiences who like their American hospital comedies blacker than black.

At the Finborough Theatre until 27 October 2018.

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