Beyond Therapy | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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BEYOND THERAPY, CollaborAction, at Voltaire. The chosen prey in Christopher Durang's acerbic 90-minute send-up of psychiatry are hucksters who sell quick fixes to desperate people. Peddling comforting lies, they try to cut through life's complexities--only to paralyze their patients.

More than a title, Beyond Therapy is the goal Durang dangles before two perplexed losers: Bruce, an emotionally neutered bisexual who cries and loves on impulse, and the equally confused, lonely, and repressed Prudence. They confuse their parallel neuroses with love, and when their first date self-destructs, they fall back on bogus authorities: their shrinks provide damnable counsel and sexual harassment. Disregarding their unprofessional advice, each love seeker pairs off as randomly as life allows. There are no shortcuts after all.

Durang's work, which is never subtle, does not respond to halfheartedness and bad timing, as in this tepid revival. Sure, the jokes are delivered as written, but as performed they seem calculated and hesitant. If Randall Gary Craig underplays the pathos of the needy Bruce, Cynthia Cook de la Fuente misses none of Prudence's justified paranoia. Anthony Moseley wrongly plays his elaborately unprofessional shrink as if he knew the guy (no one could), and as the therapist-misfit, Celia Madeoy is mad enough to madden us. Joe Waterman, as the other half of Bruce's codependent gay relationship, makes Bob one long hissy fit, just like the play. --Lawrence Bommer

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