Tuesday, February 07, 2012

"Psycho Therapy" at Cherry Lane Theatre, February 6, 2012

In its return to regular programming for the 2011-2012 season, Cherry Lane Theatre brings us Frank Strausser's new comedy.  It's a bit fluffy, and could easily have been adapted into an episode of Frasier.  Actually, that might have been a better idea.

In this intermissionless, 90 minute, four-hander, we meet early-middle-aged Lily (Angelica Page), torn between the good-on-paper Philip (Laurence Lau) and the much younger and significantly richer Dorian (Jeffrey Carlson), all during couples therapy with psychologist Nancy (Jan Leslie Harding). Neuroses abound, from Nancy's chocolate fetish, to Lily's inability to choose, to Philip's fear of commitment to Dorian's fear of being alone.

Performances are generally even, but hampered by the two-dimensional writing.  For some unexplored reason, Lily is incapable of standing by a choice for more than three minutes, absurdly flip-flopping between the guys multiple times within a scene.  Ms. Harding's Nancy is the only performance that reaches for a third dimension as she flails over raising a teenaged daughter.

Whoever directed (unlisted in the playbill) pulls for the physical laughs instead of trying to mine the script, though that's a fairly shallow resource.

Production values are excellent; a gorgeous set by Michael V. Moore and solid lighting by Jeff Croiter.  If the script had met the bar set by these elements, it could have been a great night at the theatre.  Instead, it's an evening of little substance, but a couple of laughs.

Psycho Therapy runs through February 25.  Get tickets here.

Post updated 02/08/2012

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