By Punch Preview Correspondent Lindsey Clark
Becky Shaw is not really the type of girl you’d want to be set up on a blind date with. She’s insecure, clingy, arguably neurotic, and she takes the stage at Round House Theatre in Gina Gionfriddo’s Becky Shaw – a darkly funny exploration of what we “owe” the people in our lives, both the ones closest to us, and those we hardly even know.
Suzanna (Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan) had no way of knowing that when she set up her best friend, Max (Will Gartshore), with her husband’s coworker, it would set off a series of events that would change things for all of them. Grieving the recent death of her father, she leans heavily on Max’s shoulder, but finds his cynicism leaves little room for comforting. Having grown up together, they are as close as siblings – maybe even a little too close at times – and Max struggles to understand Suzanna’s quickie wedding to Andrew (Rex Daugherty) after meeting him on a ski trip. Perhaps more protective than he should be of someone who isn’t technically family, Max sees Andrew as a wimp with a savior complex, and in turn Andrew sees him as an emotional child who gets more of his wife’s attention than he does. Enter Becky (Michelle Six). Andrew’s “delicate” coworker becomes a precarious presence in all of their lives after she and Max are robbed at gunpoint on their date – leaving her in the middle of a nervous breakdown and giving him even more reason to keep his distance. His refusal to contact Becky sends her into despair and Suzanna into outrage – the crazier Becky goes, the more Andrew insists on being there to take care of her, leaving all four of them with some very serious boundaries to set.
Not one to respect boundaries herself, Suzanna’s overly dramatic mother, Susan (Brigid Cleary), suffers from MS (and a wickedly funny case of insensitivity) - and as her condition worsens, so escalates the tension between the entire family. As the troubles between them brew, secrets are revealed, lines are crossed, and some truths bubble to the surface that cannot be ignored – and though Becky may be at the root of many of the problems, she’s not about to be weeded out now.
Director Patricia McGregor’s vision of Gionfriddo’s play is spot on and the cast delivers a solid and endearing performance, and the stage set deserves a write-up of its own for the creative way designer Daniel Conway dealt with multiple scene changes on a relatively small stage. Becky Shaw closes out Round House’s 2012/2013 Season and runs through June 23rd. Tickets for everyone age 30 and under are between $10 and $15, and June 18 is “$10 Tuesday” – so you really have no excuse not to catch it. And I guarantee you that you’ll leave the theatre thinking that your last blind date wasn’t all that bad, after all.
Round House will kick off their 2013/2014 Season on August 21 with The Beauty Queen of Leenane – a Tony winning tragicomedy (yes, that’s a thing) by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh.
As the Punch Premiere Correspondent, Lindsey covers all things music and theater related. When not writing for Pamela’s Punch, Lindsey has a seriously sweet gig as Executive Assistant at the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (www.pcah.gov). Aside from writing and seeing as much live music as possible, you can usually find her on a running trail, in front of a painting, staring at her dog, Lincoln, or hanging out with her big sister and fellow Punch Correspondent Niki Clark. Follow her on twitter @lindseykayclark. Contact Lindsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.