Reasons to be Pretty was disappointing

Having enjoyed Fat Pig and The Shape of Things so much, I had high expectations for Reasons to be Pretty. Unfortunately, the play did not live up to my expectations. The characters and setting did not resonate with me. The dialogue is simplistic and crass, reflecting the blue collar setting. I missed the wit from his other plays. I also did not buy the relationships. Greg, the main character, seems too smart to be dating a lunatic like Steph or to be friends with a bully like Kent. I also hated the moralizing monologue at the end of the play. Ah well, I hope I like Neil Labute’s next play more!

  • I am glad I didn’t see this before I went on Friday with my friend Christine. While I agree with most of your review (especially the part about the preachy ending), I actually did like the play. In my opinion, none of the characters were supposed to be believable on a stand-alone basis, but rather they were a contrast of extreme, stereotypical gender traits. Even though Steph was psychotic, she was right about a woman needing a man who passionately desires her on a basic, animal level. The question is, how much? And how does a woman spot the difference between a man who desires HER passionately and not just women in general (a la Kent and Carly)? The play didn’t answer those questions for me. I felt that Greg did not grow very much (or at least believably). But I felt like Stephanie started growing tremendously once she took her dignity back and refused to settle into the complacency of a long-term relationship at the sacrifice of her pride and basic right to sexuality.

    What should we see next?