Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Way We Get By **

Neil LaBute’s new two-hander, now in previews at Second Stage, represents somewhat of a new direction for him — misogyny and misanthropy are nowhere to be seen and love is in the air. Doug (Thomas Sadoski) and Beth (Amanda Seyfried) have shared a night of lust after hooking up at a party. The morning after is awkward as they attempt to determine what the future holds for their relationship. We learn that they are not strangers and the nature of their past relationship presents an obstacle to any future one. A greater problem is the inability of one of them to commit. Doug, a socially awkward motor-mouth, would become annoying very fast if he were not played by the superb Sadoski, who, I think, is one of the finest younger actors on the New York stage. Seyfried has a less showy — dare I say underwritten — role. I felt that her inability to make a stronger impression was primarily a problem with the script. She does have lovely breasts though. I am curious whether Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”), who was originally announced for the role, could have done more with it. Much of the dialogue seemed artificial. The play became repetitive after a while and ended with a ridiculous scene that diminished what preceded it. Neil Patel’s apartment set is spot-on as are Emily Rebholz’s costumes. Leigh Silverman’s direction does not call attention to itself. I admire LaBute for trying something different and thank him for providing a juicy role for Sadoski. Other than his performance, there wasn’t much to admire. Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission.

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