Becky Shaw, the new production that Chip Walton is directing at Curious Theatre Company, opened the weekend before the Best of Denver issue -- in which we published no reviews. (We did, however, give several awards to Curious in the Best of Denver 2012.) So here's a preview of Juliet Wittman's upcoming review:
The Slater family in Gina Gionfriddo's Becky Shaw is comprised of three odd, bitter, and unhappy people who nonetheless live in uneasy equilibrium -- until Becky Shaw enters their lives via the always-dangerous mechanism of a blind date.
Suzanna is relatively sane but obsessed with horror movies. As the play opens, she's mourning the death of her father. Max was taken in by Suzanna's parents at the age of ten when his own mother died; he is a ruthless, literal-minded financier who wants Suzanna to get over her grief, since four months is quite long enough to mourn a dead parent. And then there's monstrous widowed mother Susan, who sees herself as a pragmatist, and lives with a shiftless and much younger man.
By the second scene, Suzanna has married sweet-natured Andrew, who cares nothing about money and wants to write a novel. They decide to set up Max with Andrew's hapless co-worker, Becky Shaw. Becky is one of those ghastly helpless people whose weakness easily becomes a vortex sucking in anyone who tries to help her.
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The dialogue is smart and funny, with lots of lines that defy convention and tread on our tenderest toes. But though the production is thoroughly enjoyable, it isn't clear what the play is about at its core. The author has things to say about money and class, and also the moral issue of what people owe each other; the fact that these dilemmas never really fire the imagination may be a weakness of the script. Or it may be the way the role of Becky Shaw is interpreted: She is so tic-ridden and strange that any man in his right mind would bolt from her. Becky Shaw plays at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, through April 14 at Curious Theatre Company, 1080 Acoma Street; for ticket information, call 303-623-0524 or go to www.curioustheatre.org.