When Steph (Marin Ireland), girlfriend of warehouse worker Greg (Thomas Sadoski), learns he referred to her looks as simply "regular" in a casual discussion with his misogynistic co-worker, Kent (Stephen Pasquale), she lays him out in such an unrelenting tirade that you may be tempted to flee the theater.
But Neil LaBute's riff on our obsession with beauty eventually proves itself a moving examination of two people who love each but simply can't come back together.
Sadoski plays Greg with a hangdog vulnerability that ranks with the best this season, and Ireland shows a range far beyond the shrill harridan she appears at the start. Their scenes have such delicacy that the audience hangs on every word.
Pasquale is appropriately hateful as the bullying Kent, and Piper Perabo as Kent's pregnant security guard wife reveals a vulnerability underneath her uniform and cocksure manner.
Terry Kinney directs with terrific precision on David Gallo's warehouse-dominated set.
(Lyceum Theatre, 149 W. 45th Street; (212) 239-6200 or www.telecharge.com)
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Friday, April 3, 2009
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