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“At the last minute, she shoots the stalker in the head.” That’s Theresa (Lucy Newman-Williams) talking about the denouement of innumerable Lifetime movies with names like Poison Love. But the plots of such flicks have become all too real for Theresa; as she speaks about them, she’s a virtual prisoner in her office, hiding from a blind date who’s transmogrified into a stalker. In Boy Gets Girl, Rebecca Gilman does more than cite trite woman-in-peril flicks to separate her own script from them: She surrounds Theresa, who writes for a Harper’s-like magazine called the World, with unorthodox characters—a ditzy assistant (Tara Giordano); a lovably dopey editor named Howard (Jim Jorgensen); a no-nonsense, not-entirely-reassuring female cop (Adele Robey); a fellow reporter, Mercer, who sparks some subtle but undeniable sexual tension (Eric Singdahlsen); and, best of all, an amiably crotchety Russ Meyer–type interviewee (John Dow). Dow’s Les Kenncat is unapologetic about his aesthetic and personal appreciation for a great pair of tits, and his scenes with the feminist, intellectual Theresa provoke many of the script’s laughs. It’s a fine book, with as much mirth as fear and despair. Sure, it hammers home a bit too much its male-gaze theme, and it flags a bit in the second-half subplot involving Mercer’s plans to write about the stalking incident. (Still, excising that subplot would deprive the audience of Singdahlsen, who’s one of the most likable, least actory actors in the Theater Alliance’s production.) Director Kirsten Kelly keeps up the pace, with special attention paid to those all-too-often mood killers, the scene changes: As actors scurry in half-darkness to move the parts of Milagros Ponce de Leon’s versatile set, Kelly draws our attention to vignettes in the foreground: Kenncat ogling a pinup calendar, for example, or Howard wandering, unbidden, to the table where Theresa has just abandoned her date from hell and downing her leftover wine. The guy left at the table, Carlos Bustamante as Tony, has the hardest role, that of a seemingly nice guy who goes Freak City after Theresa rebuffs him—after one beer, one abortive dinner date, and scarcely any physical contact. Bustamante’s Tony grows more and more cloddish and nervous throughout the first act, but Gilman keeps him largely offstage once he has morphed into a monster—which may be a good thing, because Bustamante seems to be reaching his limits at slightly creepy. The bulk of the plot development, then, falls on Newman-Williams, who’s utterly credible and endlessly watchable as the shaken yet feisty Theresa. The actress has the wide eyes and broad cheekbones of Ashley Judd, and she’s got a far better role than Judd ever gets to play: the centerpiece of a gripping, plausible drama that can’t possibly end like those Lifetime movies.—Pamela Murray Winters