When three comedy writers meet for lunch – after a deliberate hiatus of 15 years – things are bound to get interesting fast. Skilled playwright Jerry Mayer doesn’t pull any punches as the three former friends and colleagues begin to spar in the Kibbitz Room of Canter’s Famous Deli on Fairfax. Pastrami and cheesecake flow as words get minced and chopped by three very funny men with bones to pick with each other. And maybe with the potentially depressing fact that they’re on the down slope of life’s hill. Maybe it’s time to kiss and make up – or something like that.
Host Jeff Cohen (Chris DeCarlo) has called together Dick Turner (Paul Linke) and Mel Friedman (Kyle T. Heffner), his two “besties” in times past for a re-hash of their days in the sun – and their old, unresolved conflicts with each other. Conflicts which left them incommunicado for a long and silent 15 years. Rachel Galper and Christine Joelle bring to life all those young and older ladies who entered the trio’s life – for good or evil or somewhere in between. And let’s not forget Matt Fowler, who plays everybody’s younger self.
Mixed in with their “tell-all” tales about what was really going on behind the scenes when friendships were torn asunder are poignant but uproarious bits and pieces of what it’s like to get older for these three (prostates, frozen landscapes, ER, anyone?). Author Mayer has a way with words – and even these serious topics assume a hilarious life of their own. With generous nonverbal assists by a talented and quirky cast. It’s a trip down memory lane for this trio – and for the audience too as they recall their own pasts mingled with LA’s past.
Speaking of Southern California’s past, let’s not forget that Jerry Mayer’s first play, “Almost Perfect,” had its world premiere in 1986 at the Santa Monica Playhouse. After its successful two-year run, Mayer penned numerous original plays which were subsequently produced all over the world. But Mayer never forgot where he began, and many of his other plays have been brought back to life at the Santa Monica Playhouse in the Jerry Mayer-a-thon, a five-year tribute to a master comedy playwright. MISTAKES WERE MADE is Mayer’s tenth play – and has its world premiere at the Santa Monica Playhouse in 2019.
James’ Cooper’s set is enhanced by lighting which highlights flashbacks as the trio tell their stories to each other and the world. The entire production team does an excellent job of remaining flexible to the demands of the script. And let’s not forget Chris DeCarlo, who doubles as cast member Jeff and skilled director of the whole shebang. If you’re ready for some poignant chuckles about the foibles and fancies of three men who didn’t know better then – but maybe do now, then MISTAKES WERE MADE is tailor-crafted just for you. Get ready to laugh as some of their thoughts reach out and touch your heart.
MISTAKES WERE MADE runs through September 28, 2019, with performances at7:30 p.m. on Saturdays and at 3:30 p.m. on Sundays. The Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Tickets are $35 (discounts available for students, seniors, teachers, and military). For information and reservations, call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or go online.