SALT LAKE CITY — With You is a world premiere play, written and directed by Jamie Wilcox, that is part of the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival. The show starts with a charming interaction of two best friends having a drink: Georgia (played by Amy Livingston) and Christopher (played by Tristian Osborne). A waiter comes in, Dustin (played by Pedro Flores), and Christopher uses his gay best friend skills to play matchmaker. After a few scenes where the friendship develops into a dating relationships, I wondered if With You was ever going to be more than a conventional love story. I learned that I was very wrong to even wonder.

Show closes August 7, 2022.

The story moved into one of mental illness, love, and the challenges that happened with that. As both a mental health counselor and a theatre critic, I noticed how the significant and real issues of mental health and mental health care were handled in a way that was beautiful, raw, and real. Flores really played someone who has a mental health condition well. Dustin’s concerns about his mental health challenges, the reality of stigma, and the side effects of medication were all given a compassionate portrayal. Livingston’s ability to show the emotion of being a loved one who wants to help and does not know how was a believable and heart wrenching performance. And there was an important scene near the end where Osborne performed some acts that a true and loving friend would and should do for Livingston, which gave the play an extremely moving climax. I commend Wilcox and  Amanda Dayton (as the intimacy and conflict coach) for creating such vivid scenes with the actors.

There are triggering themes that are discussed With You. I was glad to have a few moments after this performance to breathe and calm myself. The show was beautiful, and I am glad that I saw it, but audience members who have been affected by these themes (like myself) may need a few moments after to make sure they are ok. That is how real With You is — and how important.

The Play Is The Thing production of With You plays as part of the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival at various times through August 7. For ticketing and venue information, visit

These reviews are made possible by a grant from the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks program.