Review: Ways To Win Back Your Lover

Actor/Writer Ryan Phillips as "Mark". Design by Gina Holder

Actor/Writer Ryan Phillips as Mark. Design by Gina Holder

Presented by the Bughouse Theater in Chicago, Ways to Win Back Your Lover is a comedic show following the story of Mark, a lovable yet impractical young man, who attempts several far-fetched stunts in hopes of winning back his ex-girlfriend.

Directed by Stephen Kropa, WTWBYL is written by Ryan Phillips, who also plays the role of Mark. Joining him in this tale is his best friend Beth (Liz Anderson), ex-girlfriend Sydney (Alli Stark), Sydney’s new boyfriend Rodney (Caleb Woodley), and various other colorful characters played by Wanjiku Kairu and Sam Haynie.

WTWBYL is a play composed of a series of sketches that are sweetly strung together and sprinkled with witty one-liners. It’s a show that’s sticky sweet like your favorite candy- but not too sweet as to give you a stomachache.

Welcoming the audience with 2000’s pop-rock as the theater’s house music set the scene for a wave of nostalgia as Phillips and his crew take viewers on a trip down memory lane as they witness the butterflies of an innocent romance and anguish of losing it, much like that of a grade-school crush. The simple yet effective use of lighting and sound cues accent the performance with just the right amount of flair. The Bughouse’s small blackbox-style theater adds to the personal ambiance, and watching the show almost makes you feel as though you are part of a TV studio audience. 

WTWBYL is written in a way that is reminiscent of your favorite childhood sitcom like That’s So Raven, Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens. The show is even complete with a GLEE-style bathroom rap battle! Though, WTWBYL shows maturity in the writing and characters beyond that of your favorite Saturday morning show.

Despite being dressed up with adult humor, there is still a moral of the story and lessons to be learned. Sometimes you can be in love with the idea of person more than the actual person themselves. Your best friends should never be undervalued. And the neighborhood bartender’s advice can exceed drink recommendations.

Ways To Win Back Your Lover is like your high school crush: genuinely funny, sweet, and smart. It’s cheesy, yet charming. It’s wickedly cool but still gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling.

Spend your next Friday night with Ryan Phillips and the cast of Ways To Win Back Your Lover.


WTWBYL plays Fridays at 8pm through August 26th at the Bughouse Theater. Tickets are $10-$15 and available at the box office or online.


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