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Washington DC by Susan Berlin

Becky Shaw

Also see Susan's reviews of Company and Stupid Fucking Bird


Will Gartshore and Michelle Six
Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland, is presenting the area premiere of Becky Shaw, Gina Gionfriddo's comedy of bad manners.

The play dissects interpersonal relationships in an almost clinical manner. Suzanna Slater (Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan) and Max Garrett (Will Gartshore) have a deep but ambiguous connection: Max came to live with Suzanna's family after his mother died, making them as close as siblings but not related. Max, a financial planner with definite ideas about love and sex, sees Suzanna shriveling up under the stress of her father's death and the illness of her mother (Brigid Cleary), who seems happiest when living in denial. Max thinks he's doing what's best for Suzanna by pushing her out of the nest, but he's less thrilled when she marries Andrew Porter (Rex Daugherty) shortly after meeting him.

Suzanna wants Max to be happy—she also wants to move him further out of her life—so she sets him up with Becky Shaw (Michelle Six), who works with Andrew. The aftermath of their date forms the basis for the second half of the play, as hidden agendas come to the surface and the characters realize their inability to communicate honestly with each other. More than one character says: "There are times when lying is the most humane thing you can do."

Director Patricia McGregor ably navigates the territory among people who sincerely believe they're doing what is best for the people around them. Six gives a fascinatingly opaque performance: what does Becky want and why does she act the way she does? Gartshore is sleekly confident as a person convinced that he has to take control of any given situation, while Daugherty is loving to the point of insufferability and Keegan tries to stay balanced.

Daniel Conway has created a gorgeously detailed scenic design that shifts easily among a series of locations. Katherine O'Neill's costumes range from Suzanna's casual style to Becky's "birthday cake" dress.

Round House Theatre
Becky Shaw
May 29th - June 23rd
By Gina Gionfriddo
Suzanna Slater: Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan
Max Garrett: Will Gartshore
Susan Slater: Brigid Cleary
Andrew Porter: Rex Daugherty
Becky Shaw: Michelle Six
Directed by Patricia McGregor
4545 East-West Highway
Bethesda, MD
Ticket Information: 240-644-1100 or www.roundhousetheatre.org


Photo: Danisha Crosby


-- Susan Berlin


Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.



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