Of course Bunny Bunny is funny funny, it’s a show about the hilarious Gilda Radner of Saturday Night Live fame. And Bunny Bunny — Gilda Radner: A Sort of Romantic Comedy was written by Alan Zweibel, her devoted friend and the award-winning original SNL writer who had Gilda as his muse. The play also focuses on the complicated friendship between Radner and Zweibel, and that elevates it to a fresh emotional piece that takes turns being comical, heartwarming, and heartbreaking.
Capturing the frustrating chemistry of the life-long buddy-buddies are ultra-enthusiastic Erin Pineda as ‘Gilda,’ and steadfast Brendan Hunt as ‘Alan.’ Both are tremendous at squeezing laughs out of a line, but the heart of the show is the bittersweet moments they share. They care for each other passionately, although they never consummate their intimate romance.
Director Dimitri Toscas has them moving effortlessly from their “meet cute” SNL introduction behind a potted plant, through all the special memories that Zweibel wants to share. The direction emphasizes the comedy that flows from yin and yang personalities — the bundle of energy that was Gilda, and the Jewish insecurities that shaped Zweibel. Poignant moments also show Toscas’ talent for subtlety.
The two leads are joined by a remarkable actor who plays “Everyone Else,” Tom Fonss who transforms himself into whatever is needed to play out a scene. Waiter, boyfriend, bride, Andy Warhol, Gene Wilder, etc., Fonss is an incredible chameleon.
The minimalistic set and projection design by Adam Flemming is effective, with various screens projecting shots of the SNL set, Central Park, Studio 54, etc., to give context to the scenes. Lighting design by Jeremy Pivnick, and costume design by Terri A. Lewis also deserve kudos, along with stage manager Ronn Goswick, sound designer Robert Arturo Ramirez, and casting director Sandi Logan.
Playing at the Falcon Theatre (4252 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake) through Sunday, March 2. Call (818) 955-8101 for tickets or go to falcontheatre.com.