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REVIEW: Skip ‘Psycho Therapy’

psychotherapy020812_optNew comedy lacks personality, laughs and reason for being

BY MICHAEL SOMMERS
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
OFF BROADWAY REVIEW

“Psycho Therapy” is one of those lame comedies that might have seemed sexy back in the Swinging ‘60s, but now merely offers a lazy roll in the clichés.

Opening on Tuesday at the Cherry Lane Theatre, “Psycho Therapy” centers upon Lily, a tempestuous glamour puss whose ambivalent affections waver between well-off Philip and filthy-rich Dorian. All three lovers wind up squabbling upon a couch in the office of Nancy, a therapist specializing in couples.

Frank Strausser’s would-be comedy is a trivial affair that begins amusingly enough but quickly dwindles into laugh-free tedium. Aside from scenes in a sushi restaurant and at a Beverly Hills poolside, the slim plot unravels in the therapist’s office and waiting room.

Chief among the play’s deficiencies is that Lily is a totally empty character. Angelica Page looks fetching and acts energetically as Lily but cannot supply the personality that Strausser fails to provide. When a story concerns a woman who cannot make up her mind, the playwright should at least give her one.psycho_therapy020812_opt

The two men similarly are written as nullities. Laurence Lau smoothly invests Philip with a patient nature. Jeffrey Carlson petulantly tosses his leonine head as the randy Dorian. Nancy, the therapist, is a stereotypical shrink whose own life is messy and Jan Leslie Harding expertly dithers through her silliness.

No director is credited, although Alex Lippard was the director when this production began. Whoever staged it, the performances are professional, the design elements are satisfactory and “Psycho Therapy” is a lousy play that will never be seen again.

“Psycho Therapy” continues through Feb. 25 at the Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce St., New York. Call (212) 352-3101 or visit www.psychotherapytheplay.com.

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