October 9, 2008

North Quincy’s ‘Beyond Therapy’ is Beyond Funny


Theater review

Most farces make you laugh rather than think. That's not the case in "Beyond Therapy," the fall offering from North Quincy Community Theatre.

"Beyond Therapy," the bizarre comedy about dating and relationships not only makes you laugh, but its tale of a mismatched couple that manages to connect despite their differences makes you ponder love and romance.

Written by Christopher Durang, the play is a definitely an adult comedy (some might say raunchy) with frank language. North Quincy's production is set in the early 1980s and director Bob Heim directs an appropriately off-kilter crew of actors.

The play consists of nine blackout scenes. Some are at a restaurant where a couple first meet on a blind date. Some are at their respective psychiatrist's offices, and one is at a man's apartment. The frequent scene set-ups do get a bit tedious. Perhaps they would have been more palatable if they were softened by a musical distraction; perhaps The Cars, Joan Jett or Depeche Mode.

As each scene unfolds, we learn more about Bruce and Prudence. The couple's unlikely pairing was precipitated by the advice of their equally dubious therapists (one is lost in her own peculiar thought process; the other is in denial and sleeps with his patients). They respectively encourage Bruce and Prudence to meet new people through the personal ads.

The two seem quite opposite. Bruce (Kevin Lowney) is progressive and a bit blunt, while the aptly named Prudence (Andrea Davulis) is conservative and shy. We soon find out that Bruce is also bisexual and prone to crying, while Prudence hates gays and thinks men should only cry "when something falls on them." Despite some drinks being thrown, they eventually find some common ground over Gershwin and begin to date.

But, no one said it was going to be easy. Their crazy doctors don't help, and neither does Bob (Woody Farrick), Bruce's live-in lover. But fortunately Andrew (Ian Harris), the formerly non- existent waiter, shows up to distract Bob from Bruce before the denouement.

Lowney is energetic and captivating as Bruce. Davulis is expressive and likeable as Prudence. Bobby Parsons and Evelyn Moffett are wacky as the counselors who need counseling. Farrick is funny as Bob. And, Harris is over the top as Andrew. They helped us see that sometimes it is worth it to open our minds and our hearts, no matter how uncomfortable or strange that may seem.

The material in "Beyond Therapy" and the intimate setting at North Quincy's Black Box Theatre provide a solid night of laughter.

Originally published by By JIM DORMAN, For The Patriot Ledger.

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