The Distracted Globe's mission is to produce classic comedies. Classic. And it is with great sorrow that I announce to you that the 80s are now considered classic. The 80s! When the hope of a jacuzzi inspired every man, and the promise of a salad bar could salvage the worst of blind dates. Also, the 80s of raging jewel tones and America's sexual identity crisis, a-bi-homo-what-on-earth-am-I-sturm-und-drang. In all this mess, it's important to have a therapist, don't you think? It's what the characters in Christopher Durang's “Beyond Therapy” would tell you. Especially the therapists.
Dr. Charlotte Wallace's programme for mental health in this milieu: sleep with whomever, whenever. Hurl vulgar epithets whenever the desire o'erwhelms you. Blind all the horses with a metal spike. It never hurts to hug Snoopy. For this sage advice you will pay more than a few pretty pennies. Just don't expect the therapist to listen real well (or at all)—or even remember your name. The poor saps who fall into Dr. Wallace's (and Dr. Framingham's) clutches...did I say clutches? I meant crotches. No! I meant, couches. Couches. The poor saps who fall into the therapists' couches act out this absurd regimen to hilarious results. Especially the therapists.
All the actors—Jared Johnson's creepy Bruce who is trying to woo Jennifer Goff's unsteady Prudence while also living with his lover (Justin Walker's stiff Bob, who wishes to lay Moses L. Rickett's none-too-empathetic Waiter)—they're all a riot—ungainly, wobbly on their feet and in their emotional lives. Especially the therapists: Rick Connor's strung-out, macho Dr. Framingham, and Kelly Wallace's psycho Dr. Wallace. While it's obvious these therapists are little more than sexual predators and voyeurs par excellence—they're the humorous highlight of the show.
Kelly is a relative newcomer to the Greenville stages, and this is her juiciest and most triumphant performance to date. If you can survive the sexual meet ups and break ups and swap outs--and Durang's often self-indulgent script (2 hours? Really?)—it's worth it to see this performance. Wallace sings! (And I'm not talking about the sort of singing done by Bob's possibly transvestite mother.) Kelly's perfectly tuned to this bizarre role, and I'd give all my pennies to sit on her couch and watch her work her crack-pot magic again.
Christopher Durang's “Beyond Therapy,” directed by Michele Labar. Presented by The Distracted Globe Theatre Company at Warehouse Theatre, 37 Augusta St., Greenville (864) 235-6948. Through July 31. Tickets $7.50.