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Reasons To Be Pretty

ensemble theatre · actors task force · United States of America

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June 10, 2017 certified reviewer

What I liked

Neil LaBute’s work seems to always center around the everyday cruelties we engage in and “Reasons…” is a particularly funny one. I was not expecting this to be so heartfelt and I think that’s just a testament to the brilliance of these four actors. Roger Wan’s likable presence and layered performance as Greg carries the play to it’s sincere finale. He’s able to take a meek, aimless person and build him up into a person willing to grow and see his faults. And his journey is so painfully funny. The comedy reaches a high with Samuel Colby’s turn as the douchey Kent. Classically cruel and reprehensible in the Labute mold, Kent is still extremely appealing despite our reservations due to Colby’s charisma and energetic presence. But as brilliant as the men are, the women provide the emotional foundation of the play, as they have to live with the repercussions of their men’s actions. Veronica Roy’s work as Carly is particularly strong as she’s able to convey the fragile duality of being a confident, attractive woman who is forced to confront the insecurity men inevitably bring out in women. Her “interrogation” of Greg is a standout. Finally, there’s the emotional center of the play, Steph. Greg’s “innocuous” observation triggers an anger in Steph that sets the play in motion. No matter how funny LaBute plays or films are, the wrongs committed by inconsiderate men are always brutal. And while Greg’s infraction is at first absurd and comical to him and the audience, Kimber Pritts as Steph makes us understand how truly devastating it is. We see how this small thing corrupts Steph’s self perception and even her place in life. We laugh out loud as Pritts reacts by reading a list of Greg’s faults in public, and feel sorry for her later as we see the humiliation and her growing confusion culminate in a loss of identity. The power that men can have on the women that love them is real and it’s written all over Pritts’ and Roy’s faces. I can’t say enough about the job of these four individuals. A pleasure to watch in a well directed production, that utilized all parts of the stage nicely.

What I didn't like

My overall impression

A truly entertaining production, with four actors that excelled at presenting a strong understanding of LaBute’s play.

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