Beyond Therapy with Orion’s Belt
By Charlie Mcbride
Kinvara-based Orion’s Belt Theatre Company visit the Town Hall Studio next week with Christopher Durang’s terrific madcap comedy, Beyond Therapy. It is the second time the company have presented a Durang play, having staged the same author’s Baby With The Bathwater last year.
Beyond Therapy is a fast-paced, deliriously funny, play revolving around the worlds of dating, romance, and psychoanalysis. It centres on the fraught romance between single and straight Prudence, and bisexual Bruce whose male lover Bob is seriously miffed by the affair. Further complicating this unlikely ménage-a-trois is the erratic counselling of two unhinged psychotherapists, the scatty Dr Charlotte Walsh and the libidinous, misogynistic, Dr Stuart.
Bruce and Prudence meet through a personals ad, but their date does not go very well. Bruce expresses emotions and likes to cry. Prudence thinks men should not cry “unless something falls on them”. Bruce has a male lover; “I’m bisexual,” he confesses. Prudence feels dubious, the couple talk at cross purposes some more, and then end up throwing water in each other’s faces.
We then see them talk about their meeting with their respective psychiatrists. Prudence’s shrink, Dr Stuart, is a mass of seething resentments who once seduced her and keeps bragging about his prowess. Bruce’s psychiatrist is the warm, encouraging, Dr Charlotte who brims over with touchy-feely mumbo-jumbo and communicates with her patients via a Snoopy doll.
Somehow Bruce and Prudence meet a second time, surprisingly overcome their initial loathing, and start to maybe like one another. But then Prudence has to meet Bruce’s male lover Bob; and listen to Bob’s crazy mother on the phone. The whole play comes to a chaotic, and side-splitting, climax in a mad restaurant scene with screaming, shootings, and mayhem galore.
Beyond Therapy premiered off-Broadway in 1981 (with a young Sigourney Weaver featuring in the cast) and received a Broadway production the following year. It remains one of Durang’s most popular and frequently-performed plays.
This latest staging from Orion’s Belt is at the Town Hall Studio for two nights only, on Thursday 5 and Friday September 6 at 8.30pm. Tickets are €10/€8.