Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Reviews: ACT's SEVEN WAYS TO GET THERE Feels Anticlimactic

pixeltracker
James DeVita, Kirsten Potter, Ty Boice and Bob Williams in
Seven Ways to Get There
Photo credit: Truman Buffett

There are two main problems with doing a show about therapy, such as ACT's world premiere of "Seven Ways to Get There" currently playing. First, that someone else's therapy on stage can be good for the author but often times deadly for the audience. Luckily Bryan Willis and Dwayne J. Clark's new play avoids that trap. But the larger trap is that therapy doesn't really have a definite ending so you either portray an unrealistic look at the world of therapy or, as is the case here, the play just kind of ends as the people involved with the therapy continue onward working on their issues. And while the show definitely has engaging characters and performances, that lack of closure and finality for the audience doesn't work out so well theatrically.

We're basically peering in on a men's therapy group run by respected therapist Michelle (Kirsten Potter). Michelle has gathered together seven very different men all with very different issues. There's the sexually charged Vince (Ty Boice), the all business Nick (James DeVita), the beaten down artist Mark (Bradford Farwell), the rage filled Anthony (Darragh Kennan), the socially awkward Richard (Jim Lapan), the conservative Peter (Charles Leggett) and the indecisive Mel (Bob Williams) all trying to talk out their inner demons with each other. So now the audience wants to wrap up seven storylines as we've been introduced to seven elements of conflict (eight if you count Michelle) making finality to the play even less likely.

Director John Langs does an excellent job keeping the pace flowing and the issues flying and clear and has created a complex world with very distinctive characters. But eventually the play comes to a head with a very emotionally raw moment and then the play just ends. And as I mentioned it's that lack of bringing all these various issues together and solving some kind of plot point that ultimately left me wanting.

But if you look at the show as less of a story and more of a character study it then works on all points, as the ensemble cast is superb. Williams delivers a charming and likable everyman. Leggett gives a laser-focused portrayal of a devout man with crippling inclinations. Lapan is hilarious as the completely inappropriate Richard but resists taking him into the realm of clown. Kennan manages a quite layered and varied study of a man with anger issues. Farwell's turn as an artist with no positive support is heartbreaking. DeVita is a force of nature as the in your face entrepreneur. Boice's sexual energy and intensity goes beyond the people in the play and practically seduces the entire audience. And they're all wrangled beautifully by Potter who manages to show off her characters strength as well as her insecurities.

So yes, the performances and characters are quite engaging but the ultimate destination of the show felt muddy and unfinished. But then that's the realities of therapy. And so with all considered, with my three letter rating system I would give this a solid YAY for the characters but with a story that left me simply with a MEH+. There may be seven ways to get there but I'm still not certain where "there" is.

"Seven Ways to Get There" performs at ACT through March 15th. For tickets or information contact the ACT box office at 206-292-7660 or visit them online at www.acttheatre.org.


Related Articles View More Seattle Stories

Buy at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

From This Author Jay Irwin