Review of Beyond Therapy

8:44 PM / Posted by Ashley /

Beyond Therapy at Porch Light Productions got rave reviews! Check it out here:

Never Before Was 'Therapy' Such Fun
Porch Light Production's frenetic new production of 'Beyond Therapy' is cheaper than analysis and way more entertaining.
By Joseph M. Gerace

An audience walking into Porch Light Production’s latest black box show “Beyond Therapy” would be wise to repress their judgments of this play’s peculiar characters until the curtain falls.
Each of the performance's big personalities comes fully loaded with issues that invoke wild unpredictability, and the audience witnesses each character unspooling before the easy-to-miss breakthrough finally occurs in this uproarious play directed by Ryan Pifher.

The 1981 comedy by Christopher Durang looks at the skewed dating lives of two slightly fractured singles trying to find true love and the therapists who, despite being in desperate need of therapy themselves, treat them.

Absurd and calamitous, the delightful plot spins out of control from the opening tics of Bruce and Prudence’s first date.

Bruce, an overly emotional bisexual bran flakes aficionado, and Prudence, a stoic and tightly strung magazine writer, at first glance are polar opposites. And well, their date ends poorly.
Tensions strain and snap, love triangles are revealed, and the car crash rendezvous concludes with two tossed servings of room temperature water. Actors Phyto Stratis and Rachael Lee are hilarious bouncing expectations and neuroses off one another. On the night I attended, the audience —literally howling and bent forward in fits of mirth—couldn’t have appeared more pleased.

The couples then retreat to their respective therapists, Prudence to Dr. Stuart Framingham and Bruce to Dr. Charlotte Wallace.

Ridgewood resident Bill Porterfield plays Stuart with misplaced machismo oozing out of his high collared shirt. The libidinous doctor isn’t there so much to help Prudence as to take her to bed.
No better, Bruce’s therapist Charlotte isn’t a sexual deviant but certainly has her own problems.
Ashley Marinaccio plays Charlotte like a primal scream: Her puerile affection for her Snoopy doll, Freudian-slip diction and the thing with the pickles are uninhibited and frantic.
These hysterically raucous therapy session roll along at high speeds on the diverse talents of a comically gifted cast.

And just when you think things can’t get funnier, we meet Bruce's lover Bob.
Omar Robinson sulks onto the suddenly diminished stage. He appears impossibly tall as the nagging, fussy, effeminate Bob. Robinson is a born scene stealer. He struts with an attention-hungry sashay and delivers his lines with a curt, almost-slapstick urgency.
Pifher, meanwhile, weaves Durang's characters together in the final rollicking scenes and the cast somehow maintains their through the roof energy.

In a sober moment as the play nears an end Bruce lays out a credo of sorts to Prudence.
"We’re all alone," Bruce says. "Everyone is crazy and you have no choice but to be alone or to be with someone in what will be a highly imperfect and probably eventually unsatisfactory relationship."

And at that moment we discover that all those judgments levied at uptight Prudence or Bruce, who plays loose with the rules, were premature.

We need them just the way they are, with all their hysterics, just as much as they need each other.

STARRING: Phyto Stratis (Bruce), Rachael Lee (Prudence), Omar Robinson (Bob), Ashley Marinaccio (Charlotte), Bill Porterfield (Stuart) and Jon E. Sims (Andrew).
Tickets for "Beyond Therapy" are $25 for adults and $22 for students and seniors. Call 201-857-3520 or visit Porch Light Productions for tickets.

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