Theatre review: The Rondo Theatre's Beyond Therapy
CAIRNS Little Theatre's Beyond Therapy at the Rondo is a play about people looking for love, who are are dire need of therapy.
It begins with a couple in a restaurant, Bruce and Prudence, who have met on a date after Bruce places an ad in a newspaper.
It's an awkward meeting and ends in disaster as both parties want different things.
Bruce, a bisexual played by Shawn Brack, is looking for a woman partner because he wants children, even though he is in a long-term live-in relationship with a man.
Prudence, played by Bonnie Towers, is an idealist and wants a certain type of man, but keeps finding men who abuse her trust.
Both are in therapy and their therapists, we soon discover, are more messed up than they are themselves.
Bruce's shrink, Charlotte Wallace (Tash Riedel) can't seem to remember names of simple items, she hardly knows which patient she is speaking to, and her idea of therapy is to tell her patients to release their feelings, even when that includes picking up a gun.
Prudence's therapist, Stuart Framingham (Adam Libke), has just as detrimental an affect on his patients' wellbeing; sleeping with his clients, and then he has personal issues.
It seems all the characters in this play by Christopher Durang are simply beyond therapy, thus the title, but then the question is: does it really matter? And should we just pick someone from among the throng of people beyond therapy to have for our very own?
Cairns Little Theatre is usually good at comedic theatre and this one certainly gets some solid audience reaction.
The acting performances, however, are not consistent.
Some actors are stronger than others there's some stiff acting, and some over-acting, which works well for some characters, but not for all.
Tash Riedel as therapist Charlotte Wallace, for example, gives a great performance.
She has great energy, which she maintains throughout and the audience is enraptured every time she is on stage.
But all characters can't be at that high frenetic level or it becomes too much.
There are just as many laughs to be garnered when a role is performed more gently as when it is pushed to the hilt.
Shawn Brack is effective in his role as the mixed-up guy trying to find his way in love, and overall the second act is much more fun as all the characters come together in a melee that becomes increasingly amusing.
Scene changes seemed to take a little longer than usual for Cairns Little Theatre performances but otherwise the sets are appropriate and work well.
This play gets plenty of laughs from the audience and with the zany psychological mix of characters, you might need some therapy to sort it all out in your head after the show.
Then again, you might end up beyond therapy.
Review by Denise Carter.
Beyond Therapy is at Cairns Little Theatre at the Rondo Theatre until March 2. To book, visit ticketlink.com.au or phone 1800 855 835.
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Personal problems: Shawn Brack as Bruce and Tash Riedel as Charlotte in Beyond Therapy.