Ryan and Alice?

Over the course of an hour, Ryan and Alice flit through several relationship stages, beginning as complete strangers and gradually, believably, becoming more.

click to enlarge 'Ryan and Alice?'
'Ryan and Alice?'

Before the performance even begins, Ryan and Alice? pays attention to detail. Its stage is set with a painfully accurate bathroom plucked out of any college off-campus housing. There are lotions, tampons, a curling iron. Tom’s brand deodorant and cheap toilet paper. ”Be like Gaga!” reads a cheery note taped to the mirror. This restroom quickly becomes an escape for Ryan (Aaron Lynn), 22, seeking refuge from a lame party, and eventually Alice (Julia Greer), 19, sexiled by her roommate. Over the course of an hour, Ryan and Alice flit through several relationship stages, beginning as complete strangers and gradually, believably, becoming more. The arc of their story feels genuine, and both Greer and Lynn are wonderfully suited to their roles. Each seems at home in the script, which often moves at a breathtaking clip. (The strength of the cast is a relief, as the entire play takes place in that same 8-by-8-foot bathroom. Some creative stage direction keeps a potentially static show refreshingly active, sparing the audience from needing to borrow a few of Alice’s anxiety pills.)As Alice and Ryan establish a friendship and build chemistry, the audience can’t help but warm right along with them — in fact, during a quiet scene involving a razor, one could hear a pin drop in the performance space as the audience held its breath. The gentle escalation of their story is never over-dramatized, which leaves it feeling true. There is a refreshing balance of humor and intensity.While the show is strong and compelling, Fringe-goers looking to push their artistic boundaries might not find this show completely satisfying. Ryan and Alice? is strong but safe, more in the vein of a traditional one-act play. However, for an audience seeking an honest and well-acted story: Look no further.


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