Theater

Stage: reasons to be pretty

A great cast can mean the difference between artistic gold and and extreme annoyance. Yet sometimes a good performance takes a bit more. Such is the case with Neil Labute's reasons to be pretty.

Robrt L. Pela on reasons to be pretty:

The third in playwright Neil LaBute's trilogy about looks-ism, reasons to be pretty is a humdinger, full of fire and music and enough invective for a half-dozen Edward Albee plays. Dark, angry streams of abuse fuel both LaBute's comedy and his larger message about language as power -- a message that comes vividly to life in Stray Cat Theatre's season opener, thanks to four distinct and powerful performances. But LaBute takes rather a long time to make this point, and, ultimately, his keen observations about the ways in which people -- particularly young, working-class people -- talk to one another becomes a victim of its own coarse cacophony.

Because this is a play about young people, most of the hollering is linked to sex. When we meet Greg and Steph, they're engaged in the shouting match that will end their romance. She's mad because he's made a disparaging comment about how plain she is, a comment overheard and repeated by her friend, Carly. Greg has only Carly's husband, Kent, to confide in, but Kent is a vulgar oaf who's distracted by his new girlfriend and doesn't care that Greg and Stephanie have split...full story

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Jonathan McNamara