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The Way We Get By
a Comedy
by Neil LaBute

COMPANY : Pinch n' Ouch Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Pinch 'n' Ouch Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 5169

SHOWING : October 12, 2017 - November 11, 2017



Meet Beth and Doug: two people who have a very awkward encounter after spending one hot night together following a drunken wedding reception. A sizzling new comedy from one of our most provocative storytellers, "The Way We Get By" is a play about love and lust and the whole damn thing.

Director Grant McGowen
Beth Jackie Costello
Doug Grant McGowen
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


An Unmemorable Title
by playgoer
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Beth (Jackie Costello) and Doug (Grant McGowen) have obviously just had sex. It’s in her place, to judge by the tasteful off-white and pale blue furnishings we see in the living and dining rooms and by the fact that we see Doug entering first, looking around at unfamiliar surroundings and turning the TV on/off. We learn pretty early on that these two consider their relationship problematic, in that friends and family would not approve. It takes a while before we learn how family has brought them together and yet kept them from hooking up until now.

The play is almost all talk, but Grant McGowen, in his role of director (in addition to his roles as actor, costume designer, lighting designer, sound designer and projection artist) has blocked the show with lots of movement. We get to know these characters as time goes by, and we also get to know Beth’s roommate Kim through a lot of the initial dialogue, as Beth and Doug discuss Kim’s maddening foibles before circling around to more personal matters. Even so, the subject of Kim comes up again at the end of the play, in a satisfyingly humorous way.

Neil LaBute’s script has frequent references to Star Wars (beginning with the film sequence that starts the show, projected on the white drapes that back the set) and also features a retro American Apparel ad as a focal point of discussion and wardrobe. The costumes reflect these references. The props and set dressing by Courtney Lakin combine the dated (a record player) with the more modern (a flat screen TV). That gives a slightly amorphous feel to the time period of the play, not that the time period is of major concern to the plot.

In two-person romantic comedy like this, it’s as important that the audience connect with each character as that the actors connect with one another. Jackie Costello has no problem with this; she’s an incandescent performer, totally natural and totally expressive. Grant McGowen, on the other hand, naturally has an impassively cool persona and sometimes seems more calculated than fluid in the back-and-forth dialogue in which the characters almost talk over one another in their alternation of lines. There’s a nerdiness and giddiness that Doug needs to display from time to time, and pretty boy Mr. McGowen only approaches giddiness as the play is reaching its ending.

Mr. LaBute’s play is filled with indirect and fractured speech patterns, full of "whatevers" and half-formed thoughts. That gives a natural feel to the dialogue, but dilutes the content. We have fast-moving dialogue and a slow-moving plot that requires some patience on the audience’s part. Pinch ’n’ Ouch’s production does the play credit, putting two immensely attractive performers front and center and shaping the action for maximum interest. It’s not a mind-blowing play and has an immensely unsatisfying title, but it fills the bill for a romantic date night comedy with heart. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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