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Theater review: 'The Psychic' at the Falcon Theatre

March 31, 2010 |  7:00 pm

400.Psychic press 3 Journeyman comedy writer Sam Bobrick, whose credits extend all the way back to “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” is possibly best known for his perennially produced 1970 play, “Norman, Is That You?” a comedy co-written with Ron Clark about a Jewish couple’s reaction to their son’s homosexuality.

Now pushing 80, Bobrick is still actively plying his trade, and quite capably too, as demonstrated by the world premiere of his comedy “The Psychic” at the Falcon. While not exactly an apotheosis in world drama, the play’s clever, Pirandello-esque twists make for a pleasant divertissement.  In that same vein, director Susan Morgenstern deliberately toys with the audience’s preconceptions in a cheeky and well-paced staging.

Jeff McLaughlin’s humorously dingy basement set – bilious green with a patina of mildew – is home to struggling mystery writer Adam Webster (Jeffrey Cannata), who tries to pass himself off as a psychic for some quick cash.  But when Adam issues a surprisingly genuine prediction to his beautiful first customer, Laura Benson (Dana Green), a string of inquisitive characters soon darken his door, including Laura’s larcenous husband, Roy (Cyrus Alexander); Roy’s ditzy mistress Rita (Bridget Flanery); Rita’s mobster lover Johnny Bubbles (Richard Horvitz); and erudite homicide detective Norris Coslow (Phil Proctor) -- all of whom factor into the evolving murder mystery that becomes Adam’s life.

Cannata’s straight man would benefit from a few more inventive kinks, and Flanery overplays her floozy stereotype.  However, the crisply comic Green shines as a slinky femme fatale, Proctor ferrets out the hammy appeal in his literature-loving sleuth, and Horvitz is a flat-out riot as a bantam bad guy with a fedora and an Easter Island deadpan. Their performances bode well for this satisfyingly unpredictable “Psychic.”

– F. Kathleen Foley

“The Psychic,” Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank.  8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays; 4 p.m. Sundays.  Ends April 18.  $32.50 to $40.  (818) 955-8101.  Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes.

Photo: Dana Green and Richard Horvitz.  Credit: Chelsea Sutton.