Pop Psychology, at the Mercury Theater. “Dr.” Tony Rogers and director Michael D. Starcevich have moved their sing-along relationship seminar from Davenport’s Piano Bar & Cabaret to this much larger venue. Here the sound system and acoustics nicely amplify Rogers’s Michael Stipe-ish voice throughout his tongue-in-cheek pep talk and original songs about bridging the gap between Mars and Venus. And the wider stage and professional lighting design allow room for a basic office set, an additional band member (guitar player John Scholvin), and projections on a giant screen that reinforce the doctor’s self-help affirmations (“There can be no healing without feeling”).
Offsetting these improvements is a loss of intimacy, a sense that this casual interactive forum doesn’t quite fill the space. Although the evening has a consistent structure, much of the content comes from ad-libbed exchanges between Rogers and audience members, who’ve filled out questionnaires before the show. In a proscenium setting, where everyone faces the stage, many of the audience’s responses, verbal and nonverbal, are lost, as is a good deal of the humor. And let’s face it, if you’re asking people to come up onstage to talk about marital squabbles and daily passion quotients, a two-drink minimum helps.