Entertainment » Theatre

Everybody Needs Therapy Sometimes

by Joe Siegel
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday May 7, 2018
The cast of "Everybody Needs Therapy Sometimes."
The cast of "Everybody Needs Therapy Sometimes."  

Writer Nick Albanese is best known for his one man autobiographical show "The Last Sicilian," which has played to packed audiences all over Rhode Island.

That play was about his growing up in an Italian family in Providence. It was relatable and funny.

With "Everybody Needs Therapy Sometimes," Albanese has presented a comic reinvention of the classic "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

The setting is a mental institution. Five patients gather for a group therapy session with a psychiatrist, Dr. Sarah Nolan (Suzette Patterson).

Neurotic Stan (Bobby Sylvia) has a pathological fear of people and barely leaves his room. He fidgets uncomfortably and seems like he's ready to jump out of his skin.

Donald (Joe Petrucci) wears a "Goodfellas" T-shirt and never says a word.

Perpetually cheerful George (Bob Macaux) claims to have seen UFOs and regales his fellow patients with tales of an encounter with a friendly alien named Charlie.

Ralph (Tony Lepore, also known as Providence's "dancing cop") sings classic rock songs constantly.

Albanese plays Frank, a bitter man who doesn't want to hear about other people's problems.

Doris Catuto shows up as an evil nurse who feeds the men their daily medications.

Nolan confides to her husband Steve (also played by Albanese) about her frustrations dealing with these nutty guys.

"I think we're all crazy," she says.

Albanese creates interesting characters and knows how to provide a satisfying payoff for the story.

Under the direction of Bethany Angeloni, the performers have a terrific chemistry and are believable as these flawed human beings.

Albanese got a lot of laughs as Steve speaking with an Indian accent; as Frank, he displayed pitch-perfect comic timing.

Staged in the cozy black box theatre at 50 Rolfe Square, the production has an intimacy which enhances the claustrophobia of the environment these men find themselves in.

"Everybody Needs Therapy Sometimes," which runs approximately 45 minutes, left me wanting more. I wanted to know more about these guys and what makes them tick. Perhaps Albanese can revise his script and add new material to this story.

As it stands now, the play is amusing and well-staged.

Albanese also wrote, directed and starred in a one-act play called "Therapy Hour With Doctor D," which is also on the program.

Albanese played Tom, a frustrated aspiring screenwriter who calls in to "Doctor D." (Ericka Atwell), a radio host. Doctor D. says she handles relationship issues, not writer's block, but Tom insists on spilling his guts.

The situation escalates and, worn down by her persistent caller, the doctor gives Tom some story ideas.

And then things go downhill from there, until Tom makes a surprise revelation (no spoilers here, except to say it's very funny).

Atwell more than handles her own while trying to help out this likable if befuddled writer.

Albanese shows his enormous talent with these two plays. His sharp understanding of comedy and his ability to embody these different characters are likely to lead to even more great work in the future.

"Everybody Needs Therapy Sometimes" runs through May 12. 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. For more info: call 401-527-8973.

Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.


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