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Bunny Bunny: Gilda Radner, A Sort of Romantic

(Falcon Theatre)

The late comedian Gilda Susan Radner (1946-1989) died tragically young of cancer.  Hers was a story of comedic gifts, neurotic fears, and an adoring public, along with a terrific marriage to actor Gene Wilder.

Television writer Alan Zweibel, who wrote for Saturday Night Live, Radner’s climb to fame, was responsible for her amusing character of Roseanne Roseannadanna, and had a platonic love-affair with her.  After her death, he wrote as many vignette-memories of her as he could remember, eventually structuring them into this odd but affecting memoir-piece on her and how much he felt for her.

Most comedic people have terrible mental interiors, using comedy as an escape valve. Zweibel is very aware of that fact and has written – well, not quite a play, not quite an homage to his departed friend – but rather an unusual evening of gentle humor about a talented and sweet woman. 

It’s especially in the casting of Erin Pineda (taller than Ms. Radner was), as the gifted but disturbed Bunny (Zweibel’s nickname for Gilda based on some Eastern philosophy), that cements the production.  Pineda expertly captures Radner’s gawky sweetness and comic timing.  And director Dimitri Toscas has found the gentle humor and character-relationship between playwright Zweibel (Brendon Hunt) and actor Radner, blocking it well and directing the trio (Tom Foss expertly plays a dozen other characters) with sensitivity and an eye for comedy.

It’s hard to tell what future this play has, as it is slight and doesn’t exactly lead us anywhere, but for we who well-remember this gifted comedienne, it’s a nice visit.  Don’t miss it.

BUNNY BUNNY plays through March 2nd, 2014, at the Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91501.  Tickets:  818.955.8101 or