Review

Albanese takes on therapy at Artists’ Exchange

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We first met Nick Albanese a couple of years ago when he debuted his one-man show, “The Last Sicilian,” at Artists’ Exchange in Cranston. Nick polished up the show and took it Off-Broadway. The writer/director/actor/producer is back with a couple of short plays about therapy, which will be given a short run at Artists’ Exchange, 50 Rolfe St. in Cranston. We caught a preview of the “work in progress” last week, which moves swiftly over 70 minutes with a brief intermission and Q & A session.

Nick wrote and directed the short play, “Therapy Hour with Dr. D,” playing Tom, a “long-time listener/first-time caller” to a radio show therapist, played by Ericka Atwell, an LA SAG actress who is spending the summer in her native Rhode Island. It is a clever concept, as Tom turns the tables on the expert as he searches for help with his writer’s block problem.

“Everybody Needs Some Therapy Sometimes” written and produced by Albanese and directed by Bethany Angeloni is a short two-act play about patients and their doctor and nurse in a mental institution.

Albanese uses a mix of experienced and new-to-acting folks, resulting in some comic timing problems that should be smoothed out by the time you see the play. Doris Catuto plays the nurse and Suzette Patterson the doctor. Bobby Sylvia is the most experienced, turning in a most believable performance as the introverted Stan. Joe Petrucci, a local comedian, is the guy who won’t talk. You’ll be surprised by his reason.

Bob Macaux, an actor and speaker for the Down Syndrome Society of Rhode Island, is delightful as George, the man who sees aliens in his room.

Tony Lepore, best known as “The Dancing Cop” plays Ralph, the patient who also doesn’t talk, but sings his responses.

When two of the actors backed out, Albanese took over both of their roles.

We meet the “chemically imbalanced” men in the first act and see them and the doctor, face their problems in the second act group therapy session. All this is done with humor, pathos and a bit of tongue-in-cheek.

At Artist’s Exchange, 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston, May 11 and 12 at 8 p.m.

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