As a mystery writer, Adam is a bust. He can't afford the rent even on the basement dump he calls home. In desperation, he posts a sign -- in crayon -- advertising his services as a psychic: $25 a session. His business cards are in pencil.
There's plenty of foot traffic outside, as we glimpse through barred windows on Sal Perrotta's amusingly downscale set for "The Psychic" at BroadHollow's BayWay Arts Center. So it's not preposterous that some curious soul might knock on Adam's door. But of his first client, Laura, Adam guesses wrong about everything, including her favorite color, though she's dressed all in blue.
Laura has wanted to leave her husband, Roy, for some time. But now he's offered to take her to Paris to patch things up. Clueless Adam suddenly blurts out, "Your husband plans to murder you." Not exactly clairvoyance, considering Adam is a mystery writer. But Laura pays him $25, plus a dime tip because he can't make change.
Soon Adam has another client -- Roy, who demands to know how Adam knew of the murder plot. Adam guesses that Roy's cheating on Laura with a pregnant bimbo named Rita, the next customer to knock on his door. Rita is followed by her other lover, a gregarious gangster improbably named Johnny Bubbles. When Roy turns up dead in the trunk of a car illegally parked on Broadway, a colorfully accented New York City police detective pays a call.
We can guess where this is headed, but the trip is pleasantly diverting as directed by David Dubin. George Ghossn, a nimble comic actor, makes an appealing Adam -- apologetic for ripping off his clients, even though his accidental advice proves prescient. Lisa Frantzen Greene as Laura, with her gentle skepticism and plausible yen for Adam, gives us reason to play along. Mike Cesarano as the unfortunate Roy presents a bumbler who deserves his fate if only for homicidal ineptitude. Janine Innamorato-Haire as Rita and John Leone as Bubbles offer cartoon stereotypes you'd expect in a bad mystery -- possibly written by Adam -- capped off by Bill Quaresimo's mannered detective who seems imported from Scotland Yard.
Somewhere therein lies a twist, cleverly embedded by Sam Bobrick, co-author of the riotous "Murder at the Howard Johnson's." More twists follow. Blue and brown are clues. That's all we'll reveal. No point in spoiling the fun.
WHAT "The Psychic," by Sam Bobrick
WHEN | WHERE Friday and Saturday nights at 8, Sunday at 2:30 p.m., through Jan. 22 at BayWay Arts Center, 265 E. Main St., East Islip
INFO $14-$20, $25 at the door; broadhollow.org, 631-581-2700