Tuesday, November 10, 2009

GableStage: Reasons To Be Pretty (5 reviews)

Reasons To Be PrettyGableStage opened Neil LaBute's Reasons To Be Pretty on Saturday, October 24, 2009. While it's not the first LaBute play they've done, this is the first LaBute play that opened on Broadway.
An edgy and darkly comic love story about the impossibility of love and the subjectivity of beauty. The author of This Is How It Goes and Fat Pig once again takes no prisoners, tackling the taboos and unspoken truths of contemporary American life.
Artistic Director Joe Adler directed a cast that included Todd Allen Durkin, Ricky Waugh, Erin Joy Schmidt, and Amy Elane Anderson.

Michael Martin reviewed for Edge Magazine:
GableStage at the Biltmore in Coral Gables has opened its 2009-2010 season with Neil LaBute’s Reasons To Be Pretty, which showcases a powerful mix of theatrical talent.
LaBute accentuates this truth. His characters are real people speaking believable, truthful dialogue. The author possesses a special gift for scripting authentic speech, and for constructing multi-dimensional characters that are at once credible.

LaBute’s genius would be lost, however, were it not for the incredible and powerfully packed performances by both Waugh and Durkin. The energy and brilliance of oration exponentially multiplies when either actor takes stage, and it's no holds barred...
Schmidt and Anderson hold their own and provide important, creative support.
Director Joseph Adler excels in enticing a verisimilitude of performance from the remarkable cast. An inventive use of space by set designer Lyle Baskin, creative lighting by Jeff Quinn, and genuine costumes by Ellis Tillman all aid in evoking an honesty of setting.

Hap Erstein reviewed for the Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
Regardless of your reaction, be assured that LaBute will continue to raise the emotional stakes, and GableStage artistic director Joe Adler and his wily cast members will match the playwright stride for stride as he marches his characters to the dramatic precipice.
Per usual, LaBute has written his male characters with more dimensions than his women, but he gives Steph a couple of killer monologues that Erin Joy Schmidt devours in her GableStage debut.
Ricky Waugh handles well the emotional meandering of Greg, holding his own in the quartet, even though his is the most reactive character. It is just his luck that he has so many scenes with the terrific Todd Allen Durkin as child-man Kent, who raises immaturity to an art.
Amy Elane Anderson, Adler’s discovery for the recent Speed-the-Plow, shows she is accomplished and versatile as Carly, vulnerable yet vindictive too.
If anything, reasons to be pretty may be better enjoyed by those coming fresh to the world of LaBute, but even those familiar with his nasty twists and turns will likely enjoy what Adler makes of them.
Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Miami New Times:
Kent is one of LaBute's scarier creations, or maybe he just seems that way because Todd Allen Durkin is such a scary actor.
Durkin is a pleasure to watch, but he's not even the most captivating character on Joe Adler's stage.
Erin Joy Schmidt's Steph is repulsively fascinating...
Ricky Waugh has never been as sensitive and subtle...
...when Carly begins to recognize the dysfunctions in her own domestic life she heretofore only suspected in Greg and Steph's, (Anderson) snaps to and digs in, her performance taking on gravitas.
Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
...under Joseph Adler's intelligently textured direction, a sizzling GableStage cast is serving up take-no-prisoners LaBute.
All four actors fully and convincingly inhabit their characters. Though Greg is both stuck and drifting through life, Waugh registers the thoughts and emotional jolts that will take him to a new place. Schmidt conveys Steph's torrents of rage physically. Anderson (who doesn't wear a wedding ring, though Carly would) finds Carly's empathetic vulnerability. And Durkin plays Kent's piggishness with pedal-to-the-metal glee.
The fine design work -- by Lyle Baskin (set), Jeff Quinn (lighting), Matt Corey (music and sound) and Ellis Tillman (costumes) -- easily takes us into the characters' blue-collar world...
...Reasons To Be Pretty is one wild, engrossing ride that twists and turns exactly as LaBute intended, thanks to Adler and his killer cast.
Ron Levitt reviewed for ENV Magazine:
A wonderful Erin Joy Schmidt opens the show with a blistering attack, filled with four letter words and other expletives that may surprise and make uncomfortable even veteran audiences of LaBute plays. The opening scene is pure fireworks...
Director Adler once again has a quartet of super actors at his disposal. Ricky Waugh is a standout. He gets better (if that is possible) in every show he’s in. Todd Allen Durkin, mucho award-winning actor, once again shows why he is a South Florida favorite; Amy Elane Anderson is perfect as a security guard/soon to be a mother who is coming of age with serious questions. However, Erin Joy Schmidt – who lets loose on her boyfriend when she learns he has described her as “regular” – is a complete knockout as Waugh’s girlfriend.
Kudos to Lyle Baskin for the set; Jeff Quinn for the lighting; Matt Corey for the sound and Ellis Tillman for the factory attire of his characters.
Reasons To Be Pretty plays at GableStage through November 22, 2009.

No comments:

Post a Comment