Beyond Therapy - Review

Therapy and, in particular, therapists are the target for this absurdist comedy in which it is soon apparent that it is they who are in greater need of help rather than their patients. The play follows the attempts of Bruce, who insists that by being bisexual he is not gay, and the perfection-seeking Prudence to overcome their neuroses and establish a relationship. Throw in the manic efforts of their respective therapists to help, coupled with the jealousy of Bruce's suicidal boyfriend and you have a boisterous evening of the sort of farce that brings to mind the work of the late Joe Orton.

Whilst acknowledging that the rest of the audience seemed to be enjoying the production wholeheartedly I must own up to certain reservations. There were parts that did not work for me and I felt irritated by them. The motif of disco music and frantic dancing to introduce each character worked well in the opening scene as Bruce and Prudence readied themselves for their meeting in answer to a lonely hearts advert but became tiresome on repetition for the other characters and went on far too long. In addition the two scenes where we were introduced to the respective therapists grated on me. The fault lay I suspect in the writing rather than in the acting. Once past these hurdles I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the production.

The delight of evening was watching Carl Boardman and Alex Childs, as the hapless couple, extract the maximum humour from their characters whilst maintaining their fragility and vulnerability. Two high quality performances from actors completely in tune with each other. They were well supported by the rest of the cast – Ruth Tansey and Jonathan Rice as the zany therapists, Jason Delplanque, the suicidal boyfriend and Alan Vigner, the waiter.

Barrie Jerram