New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

The Mushroom Cure

From 16 critic and 68 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Funny, Entertaining, Clever, Thought-provoking

About the show

They say that laughter is the best medicine, but for one comedian suffering from OCD, it just might be psychedelic mushrooms. After an extended run in San Francisco, the solo show returns to NYC. More…

Inspired by a scientific study claiming that hallucinogenic mushrooms can potentially cure obsessive-compulsive disorder, Adam Strauss embarked on a program of vigilante psychopharmacology. His relentless pursuit of this unorthodox cure takes him on many adventures. He uncovers an underground community of chemists, falls in love with a brilliant psychologist who takes him on as her unofficial research subject, and decamps to a remote island accompanied only by his geriatric pug dog and formidable pharmacopoeia. A hit at the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival.

1h 30m | Already closed | Theatre 80 (East Village)

Stage Buddy

“Strauss makes the standup-monologue-as-one-man-show his own, with a sweetly vulnerable take that has quite a few belly laughs...You’ll feel that you’ve entered into the labyrinth of the creative mind...A lovely remembrance...This is a tale of boy-meets-girl underneath all of the remarkably intricate talk of drug dealers...A real treat. One caveat, I’d limit the amount of times the lights go out...We want to see his pathos, his heart on his sleeve. He’s the whole reason we are there.” Full Review


“Over the course of 90 minutes, Strauss reveals perhaps more than anyone ever wanted to know about obtaining drugs, including psychedelic cacti which requires circuitous preparation before ingesting, and dealing with an unorthodox community of chemists...As a result, Strauss’s more banal ramblings caused a couple of audience members to nod off...It's astutely directed by Jonathan Libman.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“Strauss is an affable performer...Overall, however, he works a little too hard in attempting to make a comedy out of his experiences, and his relationship with that graduate student who becomes his partner in pharmaceutical crime isn't always believable. ‘The Mushroom Cure’ is a mildly amusing hour and a half, but kids -- please -- don't try this at home!” Full Review


for a previous production “In the course of 90 minutes, we follow the ups and downs of Strauss’ professional, mental health and romantic lives in great detail. To his credit, Strauss gives the impression of delivering these stories as if for the first time. He is fresh and very involved, yet sensitive to the audience’s reactions. He manages to make a tediously unattractive condition fascinating and also manages to make himself affecting and human. OCD has never been as attractively rendered.” Full Review

Three Weeks Edinburgh

for a previous production "Intensely gripping, irreducibly psychedelic and emotionally charged, sometimes it seems that words simply cannot do justice to the atmosphere of a performance...There really aren’t many more naturally gifted storytellers than Strauss. Describing in depth the sheer uncontrollability of his obsessive-compulsive disorder, this is pretty serious stuff, so may not be for everyone." Full Review

Edge New York

for a previous production “Adam Strauss' hilarious, harrowing 90-minute one-hander...Strauss is a natural storyteller, his tone and cadences bringing audience members right into the personal hell he faces every day. By the end of the play, you join Strauss by relinquishing the idea that you can control everything, and begin to let go...With help from director Jonathan Libman, Strauss puts together a compelling, if sometimes frantic, presentation.” Full Review


for a previous production "Strauss delvers his story with conviction and sincerity making it an enjoyably heartfelt night at the theater...The director, Jonathan Libman works well with Strauss and the two find comedy in this disease, which is often hard to talk about. The ability that this actor has to laugh at himself is remarkable, and, in return, allows us to laugh at ourselves." Full Review

NY Theater Now

for a previous production "Strauss is a highly intelligent, charming, and absorbing storyteller...The audience is taken in and out of his anxious obsession so swiftly – just when you think you’ve got it figured out, he pulls you in again. This isn’t just exciting; it’s comforting, too. It assures us that this story may not have a ‘happy’ ending, but the ending is in fact sitting in front of us. He’s not cured, necessarily, but working on it, and navigating the captivating imperfection inherent in existing." Full Review

Broadway Baby

for a previous production "I paused twice to consider the messages he delivers: that there is beauty within imperfection even if we cannot see it in one reality and that embracing our deepest fears will rid us of the feeling of powerlessness we are convicted to when in distress...Adam Strauss, through a blend of comedy and drama in his poetic narration, is a highly commendable act which is recommendable for any interested in the culture of psychedelics." Full Review

Off Off Online

for a previous production “Desperation courses through Adam Strauss’s performance...Yet Strauss, a stand-up comedian, tells his story with humor as well, as the best playwrights do for serious material...Strauss is becomingly ordinary, with his mop of black hair itself displaying some disorder, but less than his personality provides...Under the direction of Jonathan Libman, Strauss does a splendid job of navigating romance, pain, desperation, and humor in the piece.” Full Review

Time Out New York

for a previous production "Strauss' true-life tour de force is a funny, frenzied trip through his OCD and the methods he uses to try to cure himself...His constant, manic attempts to achieve perfection can be maddening and even heart-wrenching. Strauss has an engaging, ironic delivery that keeps you riveted throughout the show’s nearly two-hour running time...'The Mushroom Cure' might benefit from a stronger structure and a 20-minute trim—but hey, no one’s perfect." Full Review

The Times of Israel

for a previous production “Strauss, an established stand-up comic, was diagnosed with OCD in his 20s...His quest for a cure is absorbing, poignant, tender. There are moments of hilarity (he is a comic after all) and flashes of a frightening trip...’The Mushroom Cure’ has evolved over time based on Strauss’s journals...Directed by Jonathan Libman, the performance is witty, intelligent, well-paced and provocative. Eighty-five minutes with no intermission flew by.” Full Review

Herald Scotland

for a previous production "The beauty of the writing here is how Strauss places his attempts at reaching what in drug taking is called a Plus Four experience, the 'at one with the universe' state, in the context of his everyday life. While this would be fascinating written down, Strauss's engaging but laidback approach is the best way to understand how someone could be driven to extreme measures to regain control of their lives. Highly recommended." Full Review

The New York Times

for a previous production "Mining a great deal of laughter from disabling pain, it tells what Mr. Strauss says is the true story of his quest to rid himself of obsessive-compulsive disorder with psychedelic drugs, and it feels true partly because of the awkwardness that underlies his demeanor...The show is a bit overlong...but it winds its way to a reasonably happy ending: Mr. Strauss is here in front of us, well enough to spin his tale." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

for a previous production “Strauss takes us on his fatally flawed magic carpet ride...Some of his states are humorous, his commentary funny. Other sections are tedious...The production might have been perfect, brilliant genius: if the script sections were tightened, if tepid sections that flat-lined were jettisoned...Strauss needs to work on a balance of tone...As a shorter piece, 'The Mushroom Cure' might have been magnificent, illuminating, humorously scintillating. As is, the show is funny, revealing, and enjoyable." Full Review

The Skinny (UK)

for a previous production "Adam Strauss’s one-man trip of hallucinogenic self-help promised a lot and delivered comparatively little...There were a few poetic moments of genuine insight, though the delivery stifled any poignancy they might have had. I really wanted to enjoy it, but it teetered over the line from endearing to self-indulgent, lacking the pathos needed to make it work as comedy...There’s definitely a good comic in there, I just don’t think the story was quite there." Full Review

Funny, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Edgy

See it if you want to see an authentic, masterful portrayal of what it's like to have OCD. With candid eloquence, Strauss immerses us into his world.

Don't see it if you are not a fan of one man shows, or are not interested in shows that deals with OCD or experimentation with hallucinogenic drugs.

Refreshing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Hilarious, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy intelligent writing on a very unusual and fascinating topic presented by a polished and seriously funny performance artist

Don't see it if you think hallucinogenic drugs are immoral or you can't imagine having any compassion for OCD sufferers

Absorbing, Funny, Entertaining, Clever, Exquisite

See it if You like shows about psychological problems. Superb one man show in which Adam Strauss reveals his illness with pain, humor, and sincerity.

Don't see it if You only want to be entertained with light and frothy plays. You dislike plays that show real emotions.

Absorbing, Funny, Intelligent

See it if you are interested in a comedy about trying to heal yourself through alternative medicine -- with a side of romance.

Don't see it if you don't like solo shows.

Inspirational, Humbling, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Hilarious

See it if A masterful storyteller who baits you in for a very personal journey that you can’t help but to feel connected, stirred and inspired by it

Don't see it if A one-man show with little to no props. Far from being silly- let’s just joke about mushrooms and drugs as the poster may suggest.

Also I came in with a very low bar and left the stage moved and humbled by ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Clever, Edgy

See it if You like superbly executed theater. Strauss’s work—writing, performance, production—achieves a wholly organic synthesis.

Don't see it if There’s no reason not to see this. You’d have to have a psychological disorder even more challenging than OCD not to go see this.

Thought-provoking, Original, Intelligent, Great writing, Funny

See it if You enjoy solo shows, essays or wonder what it's like to have an intense hallucinogenic experience

Don't see it if You are anti-drug use or want to see a tradition play format

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to hear about a man's personal journey and enjoy humor to go along with the story. Are openminded to the idea that drugs help.

Don't see it if You are upset by the idea of using mushrooms to heal a psychological issue. Or if you have no sense of humor

Intense, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if You like one-person show and are interested in understanding how mental illness (OCD) impacts a person and those around them.

Don't see it if You don’t like one-person shows.

Also “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Given the write up and poster, I w... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Riveting

See it if You are interested in OCD or just any illness and a man's quest for a cure. I enjoyed it very much. It was very thought provoking.

Don't see it if You do not like one man shows.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Clever, Revealing

See it if you like solo shows about mental illness and coping strategies, both good and bad

Don't see it if you dislike one person shows, can't handle revealing emotions

Also The show is about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It can be very frustr... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Quirky

See it if you want to see honest reflections on one man's struggles to treat his OCD.

Don't see it if You don't like to learn about mental illness or psychedelic drug use. This is not a scary play. It's honest.

Edgy, Funny, Relevant, Intelligent, Clever

See it if Comic with OCD seeks hallucinogenic cure, while courting his smart girlfriend. Hip humor, captivating story, good acting.

Don't see it if You don't want to see the challenges of living with OCD. You don't like self-deprecating humor. You prefer a bigger production.

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Resonant, Edgy

See it if you're really into story-telling. Great story that takes you on a journey.

Don't see it if you're not into dialogue heavy shows.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Resonant, Quirky

See it if you are ready for a deep dive into the frustrations, highs, lows, and exhausting recovery of a victim of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Don't see it if you cannot sit 90 minutes without interval in a solo man show with minimal set, a monologue with a few other parts played by him &dark theme

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Ambitious

See it if You would enjoy an absorbing one man show relating to the actor’s real life efforts to cure his serious OCD with drugs,shrinks and mushrooms

Don't see it if Hearing about experimentation with various hallucinogens while searching for help would offend

Quirky, Intense, Hilarious, Intelligent, Touching

See it if you want to witness an open story about living with OCD told in a way that will make you feel compassion yet laugh out loud through it all.

Don't see it if you don't like one person shows; or shows without any staging; or are uncomfortable with the topic of OCD or anxiety disorders.

Also I think Adam did a great job exposing life with OCD - and now I wonder... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Funny, Absorbing

See it if You like one-man shows that are personal and funny

Don't see it if Talk of drug use bothers you.

Absorbing, Quirky, Resonant, Funny

See it if you enjoy intense personal stories performed as a solo show.

Don't see it if you're disturbed by drug use or frank sexual discussions.

Absorbing, Delightful, Intelligent, Clever, Thought-provoking

See it if You have an interest in OCD, alternative therapies, Love and some really great story telling. One of the better one person shows I’ve seen.

Don't see it if You have no interest or experience with mental illness or recreational drug use.

Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Edgy, Intense

See it if if you'd like to understand more about mental illness & OCD from the viewpoint of a former sufferer -- who is also a stand-up comedian

Don't see it if if plays involving drugs, drug dealers, tripping, the F-word, and a painful addiction are not your type of "comedy"

Absorbing, Clever, Profound, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you're curious to learn more about obsessive-compulsive disorder, if you like one-man shows, and if you like standup comedy.

Don't see it if you dislike shows inspired by an actor's own story/experiences.

Also Genuine, funny, heartbreaking monologue by Adam Strauss about his stru... Read more Read less

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if you’ve ever thought of tripping out on magic mushrooms, or are searching for a way to deal with OCD. Adam Strauss is a gifted actor.

Don't see it if you are not an adventurous person, have no feeling for the person seeking to find a way to gain control over OCD or dislike one man plays.

Riveting, Resonant, Intense, Great acting, Funny

See it if Like solid stories with great acting. The direction could be tighter but the actor is likeable

Don't see it if Drugs offend you and solo shows bore you.

Funny, Original, Thought-provoking, Clever, Ambitious

See it if You like a funny one man show by a standup comic- fast and refreshing about psychedelic drugs and quest to cure his OCD

Don't see it if You don't like one man shows or the topic of Drugs or OCD

Cast & Creatives (3)