The Psychic Hour
nytheatre.com review by Stephen Graybill
August 15, 2004
Last night I saw my first FringeNYC show for this year. And what a show it was. The Psychic Hour, by Susan Murray (book and lyrics) and Marty Fernandi (book and music), directed by Scott Collishaw, is a musical about a psychic and a skeptic, and how their lives intermingle over the course of a year. Myrna, a has-been psychic who is convinced her "powers" are on hiatus, is on the verge of her first break into network television with her own show, “The Psychic Hour.” Kevin, a complete skeptic, happens upon her show, when he steps into the wrong theatre and they end up falling in love over coffee. It turns out that Kevin is the true psychic of the pair and ends up with all the attention, in more ways than one.
This show has a unique idea behind it. I have never seen a show follow two psychics around. Unfortunately, it was something short of a full treat for me. Given the difficulty of putting on a Fringe show, I’ll skip over the lack of aesthetic visual aid. However, the writing seems thrown together, lacking in motivation in numerous places, and at times it is wholly unbelievable. Similarly, the songs did not add much to the emotion of the characters or to the piece as a whole.
Writer Susan Murray’s uncharismatic portrayal of Myrna, left me uninterested in what was happening to her, or how ever much she might love Kevin. (If it was not in the writing already I never would have thought they were in love.) However, Trent Dawson, who plays Kevin, has a wonderful voice and a great stage presence; to me, he and Emily Lester (who plays Tina, the NBC Producer, bringing a lot of much needed energy to each scene she is in) are the real treats to watch.
The rest of the cast fils in nicely with the various characters they're given to play; especially Scott Rayow and Meg Donaldson, who perform their roles with diversity, energy, and intention.
If it weren’t for the unmotivated characters, lazy blocking, and poor writing all around this comedy might have landed better with me as an audience member. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this show as much as many other people seem to have. Check it out if you want…tickets are going fast, if they haven’t gone already.