Thursday, June 15, 2017

review - REASONS TO BE PRETTY - Mesa Encore Theatre

Mitch Tellez and Brandi Bigley
Photo by Candy Thornton

highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through June 18th.

"...Neil LaBute's Reasons to Be Pretty, which focuses on four young adults facing serious relationship issues as they deal with body politics, presents a lot of interesting topics for discussion. Mesa Encore Theatre's small, intimate black box production, while slightly unsteady at moments, is both satisfying and unpredictable, just like LaBute's play. LaBute is well known for his explosive dramatic exposes into modern romance and relationships...his works often center on the issue of beauty and the cruelty of people. Reasons to Be Pretty...keeps those two topics constantly in the forefront. ...Greg and Steph have been a couple for four years but Steph is enraged and ready to walk out because she has discovered that Greg made a lame remark to his best friend—that he only thinks Steph's looks are average. ...Over the course of the play Greg and Steph will grow and learn from this moment while another couple, Greg's best friend Kent and his beautiful wife Carly, will face tensions of their own. MET's cast features exceptional work by Brandi Bigley as Steph; she creates an incredibly well-rounded, realistic woman full of pain and vulnerability. ...As Greg, Mitch Tellez is OK, delivering a very laid-back, low-key interpretation of this young man who is incredibly well read but can barely form an intelligible sentence. Tellez's soft-spoken delivery is very subdued and at many times he appears to be disengaged from those around him....As Kent and Carly, Phillip Herrington and Jillian Walker both do very good work. Herrington creates an appropriately ugly character ...Walker delivers a stunning monologue on the many downfalls of being pretty and, like Bigley, infuses Carly with empathy. Director Layne Racowsky does well in ensuring the heavier moments of the piece are balanced with humor and that her actors deliver realistic portrayals. ...Reasons to be Pretty is a captivating study of our obsession with beauty and how our constant striving for physical perfection involves just as many shortcomings as it does positive aspects. LaBute paints a fascinating tale with interesting characters, and MET's production makes for a stirring and intriguing dialogue of what is probably his most accessible and effective play. LaBute makes us see that, while beauty may only be skin deep, there are just as many reasons for people to wish they were pretty as there are drawbacks for those who are beautiful to wish they weren't.. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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