Psychiatrist Colin (Scott Paulin) and his painter wife, Becca (Lisa Robbins), are throwing a Labor Day bash. But Colin specializes in treating neurotic celebrities who are so needy and demanding that they keep him glued to his cell phone. Hes too preoccupied to notice that his daughter (Sophie Ullett) is planning to run away from home, or that his wife is involved in a love affair with his boorishly obnoxious colleague Branch (Gregg Henry), who specializes in dubious drug therapies. Also on the premises are April, a famous woman psychiatrist (Cece Antoinette), in a shamefully underdeveloped role), and mysterious stranger Jack (Matthew Glave), an ex-con who takes them all hostage. Hes hell-bent on extracting financial restitution for the death of his cellmate, who supposedly died as a result of Branchs drug experiments. Playwright Tom Baum seems to have intended to write a satire on our therapized world, and there is some amusing psychobabble, but any ideas the playwright harbored are lost in the trappings of a lame, old-fashioned farce. Director Jenny OHara has gathered an able cast and mounted an expert and expensive production but they cant conceal the plays meager purpose. Matt Maenpaa and Adam Hunter provide the airily handsome set, with detailed sound design by Matthew Richter. Lillian Theatre, 1076 Lillian Way, Hollywood; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 7 p.m., through Dec.7. (323) 960-4420 or www.plays411.com/shocktherapy.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Nov. 8. Continues through Dec. 7, 2008