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Lee Scheier's comedy features a character who thinks he's a whippet, but in fact it's the play that's the dog. Transference is about 96 percent unendurably appalling: a wannabe wacky satire on psychoanalysis that comes off dumb, desperate, and random. The other 4 percent is also appalling but develops a peculiar charm thanks to Bethany Caputo and Ed Kross's efforts as neurotic young lonely hearts. Their mating dance turns into a sweet comic ballet that's not only the best thing in the show but a kind of tonic improving everything else. Slightly. Catch is, you've got to wait through a barking man, an analyst in a Groucho mask, Jeff Lee's wrongheaded directing, loads of hystericized speeches, and a Chinaman saying "radies' loom."

--Tony Adler a Through 12/31: Wed 2 and 8 PM, Thu-Fri 8 PM, Sat 5 and 8:30 PM, Sun 2 and 5:30 PM, Fri 11/24, 2 and 8 PM, no show Wed-Thu 11/22-11/23, Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport, 773-325-1700, $39.50-$46.50.

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