By Dr. Anton Anderssen
"Do you believe in love at first sight?" asked the presumptuous Jingle Jabonski to the handsome Dr. Victor Karleen.
Sure, especially when the star of the show is also a TV personality and is drop-dead gorgeous. Now appearing on Main Stage at the Baldwin Theatre in downtown Royal Oak is the twisted farce Meanwhile Back on the Couch. Starring Fox TV personality Alan Longstreet as psychiatrist Victor Karleen, a host of wacky and ludicrous supporting characters, great direction by Richard Wilson and a superbly constructed set, Couch has all the ingredients of a side-splitting schizophrenic merry-go-round.
Similar to straight man Bob Newhart, Dr. Karleen (Longstreet) has to deal with crazy people every day. His fiancée (Sarah Lovy of West Bloomfield) is suffering from severe high maintenance disorder, almost bankrupting the good doctor. His competitor, Dr. Roy Terrigan (Jeff Foust of Canton) has written a best-selling case-history book that has become a divine cash bovine. Victor's similar work is rejected by his good friend and publisher Parker Donnelly (Lewis Smith of Detroit). To keep up with the Kardashians, or at least fiancée Gabrielle's expensive tastes, he takes on a new patient, Albert Brock (Alan Neuwirth of Canton). Albert has a love problem and has dreamed up a torrid romance novel. He gives the manuscript – one chapter at a time -- to Victor. By mistake and believing it is Victor's work, Nurse Charlotte (Julie Fuller of Ferndale) gives the naughty manuscript to Parker, who loves it.
Decisions, decisions; should Victor play along with the mistake and be rolling in the dough, or should he be ethical and die a broke, humiliated, feckless shrink? Or should he just take advantage of his stunningly handsome features, realize he won the genetic lottery, and just be somebody's boy toy ?
This comedy marks Rich Wilson's (Huntington Woods) directorial debut with Stagecrafters. Meanwhile Back on the Couch had been in the back of his mind since he discovered the comedy 29 years ago in a humorous interpretation competition. "I fell in love with the play in high school and have always wanted to see it come to life on the "big stage." In a season billed as "feel good," I thought this show was a perfect fit. The show is hilariously funny and the audience should leave with a smile on their faces!" says Wilson.
Advance tickets for performances are $16 on Thursdays, $18 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. There is also a Thursday special of four tickets for $50. Student and Senior discounts are available for specific performances. Tickets may be purchased online at www.stagecrafters.org or by phone at 248-541-6430 using Visa or MasterCard. All seats are reserved. If shows have not sold out, tickets can be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the performance for an additional $2.00 per ticket.
Meanwhile Back on the Couch's zany cast of characters are played by (front) Sarah Lovy (West Bloomfield), Alan Longstreet (Madison Heights), Alan Neuwirth (Clawson) and Julie Fuller (Ferndale). The farcical comedy runs November 2th – 17th at Stagecrafters Baldwin Theatre in downtown Royal Oak. Photo by Lance Luce.