What does feel forced is Andrew Nance's performance as the layabout boyfriend. His accent slips between American and the various classes of British, and his grasp on his European-slacker persona feels tentative. The play itself also has a few slow moments and flaws: It doesn't need to be two hours long, and the final scene, with boys dancing with boys and girls dancing with girls, comes close to celebrating a maudlin Queer New World. (The airiness of this scene may be what the author means by "Urban Fairytale," since the rest of the show is straight realism.) But overall, A Beautiful Thing has a quiet faith in simple love stories, and the fact that it doesn't "wave huge banners politically," as the playwright says in his note, can only recommend it.

-- Michael Scott Moore

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