For several years now Garry Marshall and his daughter Kathleen Marshall have been presenting plays at their beautiful small theatre in Toluca Lake. Generally they stage the kind of plays you might expect them to present, basically sitcoms with some very funny writing. He certainly knows the people in Hollywood who wrote sitcoms and it is very generous of him to provide them with a venue for their output. Hollywood’s treatment of writers, especially older writers, is famously unfair and reflects the industry’s obsession with youth.
The sad part is many of these writers are still writing, and some pretty funny stuff. Take for example the current offering at The Falcon, The Psychic by veteran writer Sam Bobrick who wrote Norman, Is That You? and Murder at the Howard Johnson’s and has earned three Writers Guild Awards for his television writing. He may be most known for having created Saved By The Bell. The man knows how to write comedy.
The Psychic is a trifle of a piece but could have a life in dinner theatres or community theatre around the country. The story involves a young man, Adam Webster, played with charm by Jeffrey Cannata, who decides to raise some cash to pay for his utilities by putting a sign saying “psychic” in his window. In comes a very classy lady, Laura Benson (the beautiful Dana Green), who tests his “powers.” He unwittingly makes some guesses that turn out to have the ring of truth about them. What follows is a parade of characters who figure into another character’s prophecy.
Cyrus Alexander plays Laura’s cheating husband. Bridget Flannery is his mistress, played a bit over the top. Then in comes Bubbles, hysterically realized by Richard Horovitz who makes the most of his small stature to steal many of the laughs. The final clown (for that’s what they are) is Detective Norris Coslow, played by the very funny Phil Proctor, a well-known voice actor and member of the Firesign Theatre. There is a final twist at the end that works, up to a point, but the ending could be more inventive.
The Psychic plays at The Falcon Theatre until April 18.