Beyond Therapy . . . Way Beyond!
By: Sandi Durell
Beyond Therapy is . . . just beyond! From the witty absurdist playwright Christopher Durang, whose hysterical “Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike” took a Tony Award last season, this revival by TACT/The Actors Company Theatre, at the Beckett at Theatre Row, will have you rolling with laughter as Prudence and Bruce explore romance when they meet through an ad she placed in a paper.
This zany, wacky farce finds them meeting in a Restaurant, as he compliments her breasts and contacts and proceeds to tell her about his male lover Bob saying “I hate guys . . . I’m bi-sexual,” to which she retorts “you’re insane.”
Prudence rushes to her therapist’s couch (with whom she’s also had an affair) to work things out. But the only thing Stuart (Karl Kenzler – Mary Poppins, 12 Angry Men) wants to work on is their affair. But for Liv Rooth (Venus in Fur, All in the Timing), who plays Prudence, she’s not interested especially since he has a premature-ejaculation problem. She’s desperate, uptight and afraid, and has been somewhat shattered by life’s rejections and inability to find a man because of her expectations. But Stuart keeps telling her she has to “learn to accept imperfections.”
Bruce (Mark Alhadeff – Venus in Fur) who’s more than a little eccentric but sweet, rushes off to see his therapist, Charlotte (Cynthia Darlow – Billy Elliot) a real kook who talks to and through her stuffed toy Snoopy as she barks and mixes up and forgets words. Patients are porpoises – and she gets them mixed up too! She yacks incessantly about her husbands, instilling her mantra “never be afraid to risk.” Ahheee – doctors heal thy selves!
As things progress, we meet Bob, Bruce’s live-in lover (Jeffrey C. Hawkins) when Prudence comes to dinner. Bob emerges without pants, his mother Sadie keeps calling as this scene reaches looney bin status. Now it’s time for all of them to go for therapy with Charlotte. I’m not going to tell you the rest because you have to have the experience.
Added into the mix is Andrew (Michael Schantz), a waiter who is hard to find, but shows up when the time is ripe.
All I can say is . . . HYSTERICAL! And you’ll get to enjoy all the pop culture references thrown in: Plato’s Retreat, David Berkowitz and Betty Friedan to Shaun Cassidy and The Towering Inferno, so you’ll know you’re stuck in the early 80s.
Craftily directed by Scott Alan Evans, he keeps these fine actors moving at rapid pace. The well designed set that easily morphs from Restaurant, to office, to apartment, is by Tom Cariello.
“Beyond Therapy” continues thru April 19th. www.tactnyc.org
Photos: MARIELLE SOLAN PHOTOGRAPHY