REASONS TO BE PRETTY presented by New Edgecliff Theatre through April 28. You can read the show description here.
Director Mark Seasmon leads a strong ensemble in this successful season closer for NET.
I think what I liked most about REASONS TO BE PRETTY was how my initial reaction to all four characters was totally different to how I felt about each of them by the end of the play. The fact that I went from point A to point B, without noticing (or feeling manipulated) during the show, speaks to the quality of the script, direction and the performances.
Favorite scenes include the run-in at the restaurant between Greg (Steve Early) and Steph (Rachel Mock) and the “information hunt” between Carly (Mindy Heithaus) and Greg in the warehouse break room.
A few small observations from opening night:
As an actor, I think it’s very difficult to start a scene (much less a show) at the beginning of a relationship-ending argument. I felt that Steph entered a little too “hot” and limited how much room she had to grow the emotion in the first scene. I was also a little unclear, for me, as to why “the comment” was such a hot button for Steph.
For Greg, I understand what you were going for in the first two scenes, it just felt that maybe you pulled back a bit too much. Energy level wise, you didn’t seem to be on the same plane with Steph and Kent (Justin Baldwin).
Justin Bladwin is clearly having a blast being “that guy.” There was a couple of times when the pause between the end of a line and Kent’s vocalizations was just a hair too long, which seemed to throw Greg off it bit. While it’s totally in character for Kent to use this as a tactic to screw with Greg, I wasn’t sure if it was on purpose.
As I said, these are minor complaints on a well-done production with performances that I found to be natural, honest and believable. REASONS TO BE PRETTY is a very interesting commentary on contemporary relationships (including friendships) and how time and complacency can take their toll. Congratulations to the cast and crew.
A word of warning for patrons offended by language. Playwright LaBute is not afraid to use swearing (and we are well into double digits by the end of the first scene), but it does serve a purpose. The show runs a bit over 90 minutes with no intermission.
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