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Theater Review:

‘Psychic’ is full of comedy

April 07, 2010

What if a psychic reading left you more uncertain about the future than when you walked in?

This is the hilarious question posed in Sam Bobrick’s new comedy, “The Psychic,” playing at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank.

A veteran TV writer whose credits include “Get Smart” and “The Andy Griffith Show,” Bobrick knows how to make people laugh, and “The Psychic” is no exception. There were few times when the audience wasn’t in hysterics, and Bobrick’s hilarious one-liners and snappy dialogue deserve all the credit.

The play follows the life of Adam Webster (Jeffrey Cannata), a down-on-his-luck writer in search of inspiration for his next story. He writes murder mysteries but has yet to sell anything. He finds his muse in Laura (played brilliantly by Dana Green), a beautiful woman who comes for the $25 psychic readings he advertises.

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Webster can’t predict the future, of course, and mostly uses his newfound “powers” as a ploy to earn some fast cash. After a series of unobtrusive questions, Adam manages to implicate her husband in some type of adulterous wrongdoing.

From there, a string of characters connected to Laura, including her lying husband, Roy (Cyrus Alexander); Roy’s girl-on-the-side, Rita (Bridget Flanery); Rita’s lover, Johnny Bubbles (Richard Horvitz); and Norris Coslow (Phil Proctor), a sophisticated homicide detective, also stop in. Before long, Adam realizes that his next great murder mystery is playing out right in front of him.

Each time a new character made an entrance, they never failed to mention how they could spruce up Adam’s dingy apartment (impeccably designed by Jeff McLaughlin). Everything from a fireplace to full-service bar was suggested, and Cannata’s bewildered looks became legendary. By the time Det. Coslow proposed that a skylight be installed, Cannata had practically run the gauntlet of confused expressions. He settled on the time-tested stone face and received one of the biggest laughs of the evening.

All the actors were spot on and hilarious, but Horvitz as the wisecracking mobster Bubbles was by far the standout.

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