The Therapists - Review

Written by New Venture member, Andy Thomas, this hybrid piece of theatre starts off as a comedy double act, full of one-liners, and then develops into a gloriously funny surreal play.

However there was a short period before the play element took off when the one-liners ran out of steam and out-stayed their welcome. The laughs stopped coming. The double act brought to mind Abbott and Costello –- a straight guy and a gormless stooge and a little of them went a long way.

A little more work and revision on the script is needed to tighten up this section. According to the programme the play was directed by Andy and his cast. Possibly some impartial direction would have helped.

Bernard, played by Andy Thomas is an inept would be therapist. He is tutored by Jim Polkey-Calderwood's Sam, a slightly less inept one. Together they are struggling to make ends meet with the threat of eviction by their landlord hanging over their heads.

Several of Bernard's disastrous sessions are re-enacted -– his answer to his clients' problems being to counsel them in the style of his favourite films –- Star Wars, The Exorcist and The Godfather.

By accident the pair of them stumble into regression therapy and that's where the lunacy starts.

By going back in time a wartime romance is uncovered that includes a hilarious scene where Jonny Hume skillfully impersonates the clipped tones of Celia Johnson at her Brief Encounter best! A beautifully realized piece of acting that was matched by Jim Polkey-Calderwood as a very demure Edna. Confused? It would take more space than the Editor will allow to fully explain the plot.

Delightfully comic cameos were provided by Laura Bennett and Katie Scarfe, whilst comedy with a menace was served up by the impressive Robert Maloney as the psychotic landlord. His running joke with a hot iron was a joy.

This strong cast provided an unusual, unique and entertaining look at the world of therapists and proved that laughter is still the best cure for depression.

Barrie Jerram
29 May 2006