EVEN IF you caught "Beyond Therapy" at Arena two seasons ago, it's well worth seeing again at the Warehouse Rep. Estimably acted and directed, Source's modest production of Christopher Durang's eminently sane farce about two comically confused people and their analysts compares more than favorably with Arena's glossy staging.
Responding to a (slightly hyped) personals ad, Bruce and Prudence, a pair of Young Urban Neurotics, meet in an existential restaurant, where they find themselves Waiting for the Waiter and fumbling for words.
Trying desperately to be agreeable, awkward Bruce manages, in the first moments of this dire date, to compliment picky Prudence on her breasts, propose to her and burst into tears several times. The situation couldn't get much worse, but it does. Bruce confesses he is placing ads for women on the advice of his shrink -- a situation that upsets Bruce's male lover, Bob, no end.
Bruce and Prudence's risible relationship is a masochism tango. Craving connection and commitment but obsessed with themselves, they pay good money to analysts who are more unstable than either of them. Though Durang's wit is often wicked, his "Beyond Therapy" is not mean-spirited, admitting as it does affection and wistful hope for all us crackpots. After all, as Bruce says, "it's human to be stupid."
Director Phil Setren, who has a sure touch with the swiftly shifting scenes, uses the problematic Warehouse Rep space to its utmost, and chose a perfect cast of six screwballs.
Ritchie Porter is an absurdly vulnerable, yet endearing Bruce; and as Prudence, Leslie Byrne counters with an elegantly complex anxiety. Joan Kelley tackles the role of Charlotte, Bruce's madly free-associating therapist with earth-motherly relish; and Bill McKenney plays Stuart, Prudence's lecherous shrink, with an edgy smirk. As boyfriend Bob, Scott Gilmore is a very funny nervous wreck, and Brian E. Desmond makes a comically menacing appearance as a surly waiter.