In this hilarious trip down Shakespeare Lane, Dr. Patricia Cataldo is a psychotherapist with a celebrity clientele of romantically involved couples from Shakespearean plays. Having directed Will’s plays for years in New York, I was curious to see the results if all his beleaguered heroes and heroines had only gone for therapy. There’s Desdemona trying to find support against her husband Othello’s jealous rages; there’s Hamlet’s existential problems (but are they all in his head?) that Ophelia mistakes for bi-polarism; there’s Kate and Petruchio hammering it out as their prelude to great sex, and there’s teenagers Romeo and Juliet, with raging hormones, trying to deal with hostile parents.
What they all have in common is a healthy lust for each other – except maybe Lady M whose lust is directed more toward her glee in murdering people than embracing her hen-pecked husband, Macbeth. More than just spoofing Shakespeare, here’s a wild send-up of psycho-analysis, since the psychotherapist herself, who’s not quite together, has the amazing knack of suggesting cures for their ills that quite frankly exacerbates problems. So don’t blame Shakespeare for how these tragedies turned out, blame ditzy Dr. Cataldo.
Personal favorites in the standout cast are Paul Gunning as Hamlet; Barbara Mallory as Lady Macbeth; Constance Mellors as Dr. Cataldo, and Anne Leyden as Kate. Plaudits to Elliot Schwartz and Kimberly Woods as Romeo & Juliet; Heather Keller and Thomas Anthony Jones as Desdemona & Othello; Bill Sehres as Petruchio; Anthony Gruppuso as Macbeth, and Lindsey Ravage as Ophelia.
The Monty Python Really-Funny-Award to writer Lloyd J. Schwartz, and the Marx Brothers Zany-Prize to director Ted Lange. This World Premiere comedy is a No Great Shakes Production with fine set design by Marco De Leon, clever lighting by Maarten Cornelis, and fabulous costumes by Michele Young. Photos by Dina Morrone.
At Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., NOHO, through April 27. For tickets: (323) 960-5774 or www.Plays411.com/classic
Addendum: Hey, for more sessions, I’d love to see Anthony & sexy Cleopatra; Coriolanus & his bossy mom Volumnia; Hermione & her abusive husband Leontes; Rosalind & thick-headed Orlando; Richard III & timid Lady Anne; naïve Troilus & flighty Cressida, and faithful Imogen & dumbbell Posthumus. MMM