To the Bad Manners Born

Chip Walton, artistic director of Curious Theatre, says he's having such a blast rehearsing Becky Shaw that he's almost sorry the play is opening this weekend. "There's a great, wry sarcasm" to the script, he explains. Playwright Gina Gionfriddo told him she was influenced by the movies of the 1940s and '50s, "so it's like she takes that quality of dialogue and a little bit of transgression and then puts it into a dark comedy mystery -- a comedy of bad manners."

From what we've seen of Gionfriddo's work in Denver -- her After Ashley was shown at the Denver Center some years back -- the word "transgression" fits. In the opening scene of that play, a mother watches television with her teenage son. She offers him pot, talks about her relationship with his father in terms that make him squirm, and advises him that if he ever gets a girl pregnant -- he hasn't even started dating yet -- he should make sure she gets an abortion.

"You'll be traumatized for, like, two days," she says.

If rapturous reviews from both New York and London are any guide, Becky Shaw, which tells the story of a married couple's attempt to fix up a pair of friends (an attempt that goes horribly awry), is just as deliciously wicked.

The show runs through April 14 at Curious, 1080 Acoma Street; for tickets and information, call 303-623-0524 or go to
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: March 8. Continues through April 14, 2012

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Juliet Wittman is an investigative reporter and critic with a passion for theater, literature, social justice and food. She has reviewed theater for Westword for over a decade; for many years, she also reviewed memoirs for the Washington Post. She has won several journalism awards and published essays and short stories in literary magazines. Her novel, Stocker's Kitchen, can be obtained at select local bookstores and on Amazon.
Contact: Juliet Wittman