Us and You

Comedy · eric isenhower, jeff goins, kristen phaneuf, zach phaneuf, jesse fiene · Ages 13+ · United States of America

world premiere
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Review by DAVID LUCARELLI

June 02, 2022 certified reviewer
tagged as: poignant · slice of life · dramedy

What I liked

The show felt true to life. We all know someone, usually family, who takes advantage of the good nature of others, and lives a self indulgent bohemian lifestyle, while trying to find themselves, all while mooching off of others. But what this play gets right, is that these individuals while maddeningly irresponsible, are also often talented people, who have a lot to share with the world of value. Kristen Phaneuf plays the sister who is both exasperated at being taken advantage of by her brother, and yet turns to him in her hour of need. Jeff Groins plays the slightly repressed and neurotic boyfriend who can never quite crack the code of his girl friend’s relationship with her brother, and who actually stands to benefit from learning a thing or two about his free thinking ways. Eric Isenhower beautifully captures the tortured creative dreamer who flits his way from one half completed creative project to another, never following through with any of them, so he never has to take a true measure of his creative talent or lack there of. Writer/director Zach Phaneuf’s naturalistic dialogue couples well with the solid performances, and by the end, we’re rooting for these characters to break out of their shells and find healthier ways to relate to the world.

What I didn't like

Honestly, I think this is a play that most people will relate to, and will speak to them on a personal level. We can’t choose our family, but so often family relationships can turn unhealthy and co-dependent. This play offers the ray of hope that there is light at the end of that tunnel.

My overall impression

A moving, well acted, poignant dramedy.

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