Saint Louis, MO

The Way We Get By

St. Louis Actors’ Studio

The Gaslight Theater

Runs Feb 10 – 26, 2017

Reviewed by Joan Leyden

It’s the morning after. Doug (Andrew Rea) is discovered in the apartment of Beth (Sophia Brown), the girl with whom he has just shared a sizzling night in bed. He is plainly uneasy. Enter Beth, warm and welcoming. He is polite, but obviously retreating. Undaunted, the charming girl pursues. We wonder why he hasn’t already left. Why doesn’t he leave now? Well, he blurts out, she has on his shirt and he’d like it back.

Thus begins a very familiar dance. The attractive young pair advance and retreat in a rhythmic pattern that finally begins to try the patience of Beth, the more mature of the two. She becomes confronting; he more reluctant, more ambivalent about where this tryst is going. However, he is still strongly attracted by her winning provocations. This is basically what the play is about, their awkward, funny, sexy reversals. Late in the play, the author Neil LaBute introduces a somewhat contrived back story that allows the characters to reveal their deeper feelings, and permits Doug to take on his manhood and Beth.

Though the play is slight, it offers plenty of good laughs and occasional insights into the difficulties of compatibility and commitment. As directed by Nancy Bell, the piece is well-served, well-cast, fast-paced and brimming with youthful energy. Her work with the actors is very sure, and they are a charming pair, with good comic instincts and timing. Special mention must also be made of Ms. Brown’s gifted handling of her role’s darker moments, which lent a welcome substance to the evening.

At a theater which could almost proclaim itself as Labute’s second home, The Way We Get By is a welcome addition to the Gaslight stage, an entertaining, sexy comedy.

The Gaslight Theater
358 N. Boyle Avenue
St. Louis, MO

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