Married People: A Comedy Review - Marriage under a Microscope

Playwrights Steve Shaffer and Mark Schiff really know how to get the audience’s comedy juices flowing. Mark Schiff, a stand-up comedian lauded by Jerry Seinfeld, knows just how to tickle everyone’s funny bone. A stand-up comedian and actor who has made multiple television appearances, Steve Shaffer has also delighted audiences for years. Both these talented performers have collaborated to bring this rollicking comedy to the stage. Directed by award-winner Rick Shaw, MARRIED PEOPLE: A COMEDY zings with uproarious situations that will have every couple in the audience looking into a mirror – and chuckling at what they see there.

Michelle Bernard, Andy Lauer, Kylie Deire, and Paul Parducci - Photo by Sascha Knopf/Knopfoto

Two couples who have been friends for years notice that there seem to be some marital “issues” which need tweaking. School counselor Cookie (Kylie Deire) decides to put her on-line introductory psychology courses to work and organizes a therapy group for close friend Aviva (Michelle Bernard), Aviva’s husband Jake (Andy Lauer), and – last but not least – her own husband Henry (Paul Parducci). Of course, she will play the role of group therapist. What could possibly go wrong?

Kylie Deire and Paul Parducci - Photo by Sascha Knopf/Knopfoto

As it turns out, there is more going on than simply a few marital glitches. High school football coach Henry is having a crisis of conscience over his son Billy’s upcoming wedding – to his partner Alan. It’s a tough pill for Henry to swallow, since he’s an uber-macho male – and a Roman Catholic to boot.  Meanwhile, Jewish Aviva’s and Jake’s son has just tied the knot with a lovely Baptist bride – bringing into focus Aviva’s misgivings and her growing awareness of her own religious background.

Michelle Bernard and Andy Lauer - Photo by Sascha Knopf/Knopfoto

MARRIED PEOPLE: A COMEDY is presented as a series of short scenes and one- or two-liners pointing out the foibles in long-time married couples. As such, they are frequently hysterically funny and a real crowd-pleaser. The problem may be that the authors of the play didn’t seem able to decide whether they wanted to write a comedy or a drama – and may have succeeded in watering down the effects in either direction they chose. Don’t get me wrong. This play will still prove delightful to audiences seeking a comedic night out. MARRIED PEOPLE: A COMEDY is reminiscent of your average sit-com, with each scene targeted on one funny event. Except when those brief events begin to reflect underlying poignancy over the choices in life – sometimes a confusing switch. Audience Alert: There is occasional R-rated tomfoolery. This is definitely a play for adults.

Playwright Steve Shaffer, Director Rick Shaw, Playwright Mark Schiff, and Actor Kylie Deire at the After-Party - Photo by Elaine L. Mura

The cast does a bang-up job of portraying these two pairs of spouses. They have the comic timing necessary to make each quip resonate with the audience. For his careful, light-handed direction, director Rick Shaw is to be congratulated. The set – courtesy of Aaron Glazer, Rick Shaw, and Mark Schiff - is cleverly designed to serve as backdrop for the many scene switches. The prop handlers have quite a job moving everything around on cue and deserve a special nod of thanks.

Paul Parducci, Kylie Deire, Andy Lauer, and Michelle Bernard at the After-Party - Photo by Elaine L. Mura

MARRIED PEOPLE: A COMEDY runs through April 2, 2017, with performances at 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Zephyr Theatre is located at 7456 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA. Tickets are $35 with special group rates for groups of 8 or more. For information and reservations, call 323-451-2313 or go online.         

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