Reasons To Be Pretty | Almeida Theatre, London
UK Premiere

Reasons To Be Pretty

by Neil LaBute
Thu 10 Nov 2011 - Sat 14 Jan 2012

Greg is overheard admitting that his girlfriend Steph is no beauty, but that he wouldn't change her for the world. She is devastated; he can't quite see what he’s done wrong. Meanwhile, Greg's best friend Kent alternates between boasting about how gorgeous his wife, Carly, is and chasing after a hot new colleague.

Reasons To Be Pretty examines our perception of beauty and asks whether it is as much of a curse to be conventionally attractive as it is to be considered ugly. This is the final part of Neil LaBute's trilogy about society's obsession with looks following The Shape of Things, which received its World premiere at the Almeida in 2001 and Fat Pig, which was a West End hit in 2008.

"LaBute has exchanged misanthropy for empathy, reaping unexpected dividends ... some of the freshest and most illuminating American dialogue to be heard anywhere." The New York Times

Performance Sponsor: Pinsent Masons

Image Anoli                                                       

  • Tom Burke (Greg), Siân Brooke (Steph). Photo Keith PattisonTom Burke (Greg), Siân Brooke (Steph). Photo Keith Pattison
  •  Siân Brooke (Steph), Tom Burke (Greg). Photo Keith Pattison Siân Brooke (Steph), Tom Burke (Greg). Photo Keith Pattison
  • Billie Piper (Carly). Photo Keith PattisonBillie Piper (Carly). Photo Keith Pattison
  • Kieran Bew (Kent). Photo Keith PattisonKieran Bew (Kent). Photo Keith Pattison
  • Tom Burke (Greg), Siân Brooke (Steph). Photo Keith PattisonTom Burke (Greg), Siân Brooke (Steph). Photo Keith Pattison
  • Billie Piper (Carly), Kieran Bew (Kent). Photo Keith PattisonBillie Piper (Carly), Kieran Bew (Kent). Photo Keith Pattison

A glimpse into Reasons To Be Pretty highlighting the plays themes of beauty and our perception of our own appearance.

See below for a subtitled version of the trailer


"Reasons To Be Pretty was sharply written, beautifully acted and was totally engaging. In the end it was as moving a play as I have seen for a long time. This was modern theatre at it's very best."

"Michael Attenborough's direction was, as usual, spot on and we thought the set design was very clever and original."

"Great set and excellent performances. Also, staff at the Almeida were very helpful and informative."

"Great play, great performances, and generally a good experience. Love the Almeida. All the Front of House and service staff are lovely."

"The Almeida is consistantly fantastic. Amazing venue, perfect seating. Always great plays."



* * * * “Brilliant… four immaculate performances weave together with wit, truth, extreme but appropriate swearing and moments of shocked hilarity.”
Libby Purves, The Times, 18 November 2011
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* * * * “Swift, nuanced and precise.”
Michael Billington, The Guardian, 18 November 2011
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* * * * “Tom Burke [gives a] delightfully wry, wisecracking performance as Greg… Billie Piper’s mixture of courage and grief in the role is deeply moving”
Charles Spencer, The Telegraph, 18 November 2011
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* * * * “Fiercely funny and incisively acted production”
Paul Taylor, The Independent, 18 November 2011
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* * * * “Siân Brooke's Steph is raw and impassioned... this is smart, funny and humane, as well as skilfully acted."
Henry Hitchings, The Evening Standard, 18 November 2011
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* * * * “Michael Attenborough’s taut production is helped by an ingenious set”
Quentin Letts, Daily Mail, 18 November 2011
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* * * * “In Michael Attenborough’s brilliantly acted, beautifully designed production it’s a funny, moving piece – not least because of LaBute’s unerring gift for crackling dialogue and his memorable central character.”
Simon Edge, Daily Express, 18 November 2011
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* * * * “It is sharp-shooting, eminently entertaining and often painful to watch.”
Carole Waddis, The Arts Desk, 18 November 2011
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The Independent on Sunday, 20 November 2011
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* * * * “Funny, daring, thought-provoking…Michael Attenborough’s fine cast bring out both comedy and pathos”
Sarah Hemming, Financial Times, 20 November 2011
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* * * *
Metro, 20 November 2011
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* * * *
Time Out, 21 November 2011
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* * * *
The Sunday Times, 27 November 2011


Neil LaBute speaks to Mark Lawson on BBC's Front Row about last minute script changes and provocative playwriting.
Listen to full interview

Billie Piper is interviewed in The Sunday Times Culture magazine about her role in Reasons To Be Pretty.
Read full article (you may need a subscription to The Times online to read this article)


Kieran Bew

Kieran was last at the Almeida in Michael Attenborough’s production of The Knot of the Heart. His other theatre credits include The House of Special Purpose for Chichester Festival Theatre and Richard II at the Old Vic. On television his credits include Whitechapel, Inspector George Gently, Waking The Dead, Silent Witness, Personal Affairs, Crusoe, The Street, Whistleblower and Spooks.  His film credits include 1234 and Green Street.

Siân Brooke

Siân is currently in Stephen Poliakoff’s My City, also at the Almeida. Previously her theatre credits include Mike Leigh’s Ecstasy at the Duchess and Hampstead Theatres as well as Joseph K at the Gate Theatre, Wanderlust for the Royal Court, Dido, Queen of Carthage for the National Theatre, The Birthday Party at the Lyric Hammersmith and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet and King Lear for the Royal Shakespeare Company. On television her credits include Garrow’s Law, Silk, New Tricks, Doc Martin, The Commander and Cape Roth.

Tom Burke

Tom returns to the Almeida having previous played Malcolm in John Caird’s production of Macbeth. He has most recently been seen at the Old Vic in Design For Living. Previously his theatre credits include Creditors and The Cut for the Donmar Warehouse, Glass Eels for Hampstead Theatre and Restoration for the Salisbury Playhouse. His film credits include An Enemy to Die For, Look, Stranger, Telstar and The Libertine. His television credits include Great Expectations, State of Play, Napoleon, In Love With Barbara and Dracula.

Billie Piper

Billie Piper made her stage debut as Ann in Christopher Hampton’s Treats at the Garrick Theatre. On television, as well as playing Rose in Doctor Who, she is best known for playing Belle in The Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Her other television credits include A Passionate Woman, Mansfield Park and Shadow in the North. Her film credits include Animals United, Spirit Trap and Things To Do Before You’re 30.

Writer Neil LaBute
Director Michael Attenborough
Design Soutra Gilmour
Lighting Mark Henderson
Sound Fergus O’Hare
Casting Suzanne Crowley & Gilly Poole
Assistant Director Natasha Nixon

Neil LaBute

The Almeida began its relationship with LaBute in 2000 when it presented his bash: latter-day plays. Their close association with the playwright continued with productions of The Shape of Things, The Distance From Here, The Mercy Seat and In a Dark Dark House. LaBute’s other plays include Autobahn, Fat Pig, Some Girls, This Is How It Goes and In A Forest Dark and Deep which has recently opened at the Vaudeville Theatre. LaBute received his Master of Fine Arts degree in dramatic writing from New York University and was the recipient of a literary fellowship to study at the Royal Court Theatre and attended the Sundance Institute’s Playwrights Lab. His films include In the Company of Men, for which he won the New York Critics’ Circle Award for Best First Feature and the Filmmakers’ Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival, Your Friends and Neighbors, Nurse Betty, Possession and The Shape of Things - a film adaptation of his play by the same title. LaBute is the author of several fictional pieces that have been published in The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar and Playboy among others, and Seconds of Pleasure, a collection of his short stories was published by Grove Atlantic.

Michael Attenborough

Michael Attenborough is Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre (since 2002). Previously, he was Associate Director, Mercury Theatre, Colchester (1972-74), Associate Director, Leeds Playhouse (now West Yorkshire Playhouse) (1974-79), Associate Director, Young Vic (1979-80), Artistic Director, Palace Theatre, Watford (1980-84), Artistic Director, Hampstead Theatre (1984-89), Principal Associate Director, Royal Shakespeare Company (1990-2002). On leaving the RSC he was invited to become an Honorary Associate Artist.

For the Almeida: Through a Glass Darkly; Measure For Measure; When the Rain Stops Falling; In a Dark Dark House; The Homecoming; Awake and Sing; Big White Fog; There Came A Gypsy Riding; Enemies; The Late Henry Moss; Brighton Rock; The Mercy Seat; Five Gold Rings.

For the RSC: Amphibians; The Changeling; Les Liaisons Dangereuses (UK and European tour); After Easter; Pentecost; The Herbal Bed (also in the West End and Broadway); Romeo and Juliet; A Month in the Country; Othello; Henry IV parts I and II; The Prisoner’s Dilemma; Antony and Cleopatra.

For the Palace Theatre productions include: The Girl in Melanie Klein; The Big Knife; Romantic Comedy (also in the West End); Terra Nova.

For the Hampstead Theatre productions include: The War at Home (also on Broadway); Particular Friendships; That Summer; Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme; Separation (also in the West End).

Freelance: Over a Barrel; Single Spies (Turnstyle Group); 1984 (Citadel Theatre, Edmonton); Yerma (Abbey Theatre, Dublin); Anna Weiss (West End); My Mother Said I Never Should (Royal Court); Fashion (Tricycle Theatre); Apollo and Daphne (North Wall); Playing with Fire (National Theatre).



Previews Thu 10 - Wed 16 November
Press Night Thu 17 November (7pm)

Evening performances 7.30pm
Saturday matinees 2.30pm from 19 November
Wednesday matinees 2.30pm on 7 December & 4 January & 11 January 

Running time is approximately 2 hours 5 minutes including one interval of 20 minutes.

Happy Mondays
14 November
Talkback Mon 19 December (post performance)

Tue 20 December, 7.30pm
Audio-described Sat 7 January, 2.30pm (Touch Tour at 1pm)

£8, £16, £24, £32
See seating plan for further details

£8, £16, £22, £26

Concessions* (Jobseekers Allowance, Full-Time Students, Over 60s)
Mon – Thu evenings £16 (normal price £22 / £24)
Wed & Sat matinees £16 (any seat in the house)

Deaf and disabled patrons*
All performances £16 (any seat in the house)

Islington First* Discounted tickets if you live or work in Islington
Thu 10 Nov - Tue 22 Nov £20 (best available)
More info

Under 30s*
Valid on all Mondays of the run £16 (best available)
More info

Young Friends of the Almeida
Happy Mondays £3
More info

Educational Group Bookings
Partner schools £12
Other UK state schools £20
Visit the Education section of our website to find out more about these and how to book

*All concessions are subject to availability and proof of eligibility must be presented when booking and collecting tickets.

Arts Council England ASP Group