Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

June 17, 2008

Beyond Therapy

Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown
June 13, 2008 through June 22, 2008.
By Keith H. Purcell

If you are looking for an uproarious laugh out -loud evening at the theatre, then “Beyond Therapy” is for you. The play, which opened Williamstown Theater Festival’s season on the Nikos Stage, is sharply written by Christopher Durang and well directed by Alex Timbers.

The story revolves around a New York couple, Bruce and Prudence (Darren Goldstein and Katie Finneran), who meet when she responds to his personal ad. Their subsequent encounters provide rich fodder for each of their respective therapists, both of whom are wonderfully acted by Kate Burton and Darrell Hammond.

Burton’s performance as the therapist who constantly mixes up the simplest words (she refers to her secretary as a dirigible), is energetic and manic. Her scene with Bruce’s “roommate” Bob (Matt McGrath), including her choice of words to describe Bruce and Bob’s “relationship” combined with McGrath’s dead pan stares and responses, stole the show.

Darren Goldstein and Katie Finneran play their characters so well that the audience sympathizes with each of them. The audience comes to believe the characters' bizarre lives, and maybe even hope that this relationship may just work.

In addition to the consistency of each of the characters quirks, all of the actors add so many small nice touches which equal to a comedy of overall lunacy.

Although the show requires numerous set changes, the pace needed by this play is not affected due to the well-designed set, music and the speed and efficiency of the stage crew.

Be forewarned that the show’s language is definitely adult in nature, but it adds a rich coloring to the lives of the characters and the zaniness of the world created by Durang.