Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reasons to be Pretty : San Jose Stage Company : Cast Challenged by Material

LaBute’s gift for creating dialogue with pitch-perfect realism and authenticity puts Mamet to shame. Conversations are composed with a deceptively mundane naturalism that could cause one to overlook the keen observations being made.

The total impact of what is really being said is largely dependent upon the ability of the actor to deliver the full resonance of the words. That being said, not all of the cast members are up to the task.

Stephanie, who’s introduced spewing a flood of profane invective, must possess a complexity and vulnerability to engender any sympathy, let alone empathy. Despite her best efforts, Ms. Verady never quite succeeds in playing the right note.

The remaining three players are more successfully portrayed, particularly by Robert Brewer, who brings a depth to Greg, the central character, who at first glance could easily be mistaken as ordinary.

Will Springhorn Jr., as Greg’s friend Kent, provides the requisite testosterone filled charisma as a philandering jock, but his macho bravado would benefit from just a bit less intensity.

Allison F. Rich, on the other hand, shines as Kent’s wife as she deftly traverses a challenging range of emotions with a wonderfully magnetic subtlety. She’s quite good.

Notwithstanding the uneven performances, this provocative play manages to be both acerbic and sentimental. I wholeheartedly endorse spending two hours of your time supporting local theatre at its best!

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