Thursday, April 20, 2023



Written by Neil LaBute

Directed by Tim Sekuless

Shadow Director: Kim Beamish

Mill Theatre, Fyshwick to May 6


Reviewed by Len Power 19 April 2023


Written in 2008, ‘Reasons To Be Pretty’ by American writer, Neil LaBute, focusses on two working class couples in a small town.  The way they see the world, their arguments, hopes and dreams are difficult for us to relate to.  They seem petty and unrealistic, even uneducated.


At the beginning of the play, a furious argument erupts over a chance remark by Greg about his girlfriend’s physical appearance.  That leads to the breakdown of their relationship, although they retain deep feelings for each other.  The other couple are having their troubles, too.  Carly, pregnant, is worried that her boyfriend, Kent, is unfaithful.  Everyone seems obsessed with physical appearances and their dead-end lives in a small town.  That we find ourselves daring to judge them is at the heart of this play.


The four actors give fine performances. They handle the rapid fire, American-accented dialogue with clarity and a depth of understanding that is very impressive.

Rhys Hekimian (Greg) and Alana Denham-Preston (Steph)

Lexi Sekuless as Carly, seems basically happy with her life and work until doubts and fears surface about her partner’s unfaithfulness.  Sekuless gives a nicely measured performance of a pregnant woman facing her worst fears and floundering in her response to them.  Her partner, Kent, played by Ryan Erlandsen, is fully believable as an initially roguish but ultimately unpleasant man with a shocking disregard for his girlfriend’s feelings as well as for Greg, his supposed best friend.

This is a good play, well-directed and well-acted.  The sequel, ‘Reasons To Be Happy’, will be staged at the Mill Theatre next year.

Rhys Hekimian as Greg is a young man struggling to better himself by his choice of reading matter like Poe and Swift, amongst others.  Hekimian gives a warmth to the character that makes him very likeable but his appearance and character traits irritate his girlfriend, Steph, played with ferocious energy by Alana Denham-Preston.  The opening argument between Steph and Greg, is breath-takingly well done by the two actors.

Lexi Sekuless (Carly) and Ryan Erlandsen (Kent)


The director, Tim Sekuless, has obtained extraordinary performances from his cast in a production where the pace is fast and full of energy.  Several scene changes on the simple set of a few essential props have been well-choreographed.



Photos by Dan Abroguena

Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at