Friday, April 10, 2009

reasons to be pretty

photo: Robert J. Saferstein

Downtown a few months ago, this latest Neil LaBute seemed to be the playwright's attempt to break his mold and write about a more emotionally mature male. Now that the play has transferred uptown, minus a quartet of its monologues, it's more than an attempt - it's an unqualified success. Two of the play's four roles have been recast, and the new performers (Stephen Pasquale and Marin Ireland) are more in scale with the other actors than their predecessors were: everyone now seems to be in the same play, and the result is far more convincing and emotionally powerful than it was downtown. The play's focus is more securely now on the role played by Thomas Sadowski, an average Joe whose careless remark about his girlfriend's face instantly destroys the four year relationship and forces him to man up in the aftermath. Sadowski's performance seems entirely effortless and yet it's rich and finely nuanced; he's almost always on stage and yet you never catch him working.

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