“Laughter on the 23rd Floor” is really made for me. Not just me, I’m sure you’ll like it too, but there are so many things that just hit. It’s written by Neil Simon. It has a roster of characters that are each uniquely hilarious and vulnerable in their own way. These characters exist in one room in 1950s New York. They trade sharp barbs, drink and smoke too much, and if they ever can find it in themselves to admit it, are their own type of family. These people are comedy writers and the mystical room where comedy is made, the setting of the play, is the writer’s room.
I’m a real sucker for comedy behind the scenes non-fiction stuff like HBO’s “Talking Funny” and fictional stuff like “30 Rock.” The character interactions show that the play gets this fun room dynamic that is the natural consequence of a bunch of funny people shooting the breeze.
The writer’s room in “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” is lightly based on the writer’s room of “Your Show of Shows” which included Neil Simon along with Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and many others. These are voices that are said to have, “invented American TV comedy.”
Like “Your Show of Shows,” “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” has a wealth of smart jokes mixed with some impressive physical gags and can even make use of a well-placed sound effect.
Theatre Unchained is an intimate venue of just over 60 seats. The boundless energy of this comedy makes the play a whirlwind of entertainment. Every hilarious detail is visible. Every emotion is palpable. Theatre Unchained offers a wonderful little home for this play every comedy fan will love.
If this ringing endorsement isn’t enough, “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” made me believe in live performances. That last sentence reads like it should maybe have an “again” at the end but the truth is I’ve never been much of a live show person. Films are cut together from what was saved in the can. Live performances are risky; they are here with us in the moment. Without the benefit of a cut, the blocking and speech of characters draws audience attention around the set. That so many characters bounce off each other so convincingly, sometimes literally, in the confines of that little corner of historic Walker’s Point is, in my opinion, a small miracle.
You can use the code “opening” to get half off opening weekend (April 24th-26th) tickets. You can find online ticketing here for the entirety of the three weekend run (April 24th – May 9th).
Watch “Talking Funny” here: