In Becky Shaw’s sold-out Off-Broadway debut last year, the New York Times called it “a corker of a new play of a tangled tale of love, sex and ethics [that] is as engrossing as it is ferociously funny.”

It is funny, sort of. Not wickedly or ferociously – but rather sporadically at the cast’s over the top repartees. The play, written by Gina Gionfrido, revolves around a dysfunctional family that includes a widowed mother who’s dating a gigolo, a passive-aggressive daughter, an angry adoptive son, and a do-gooder son-in-law who attempts to sort out everyone’s issues including those of his downtrodden and pathetic friend, Becky Shaw.

To say that the play meanders haphazardly is an understatement. It touches on a multitude of subjects, including taboos such as incest (between sister and adoptive brother), racism, adoption, attempted suicide. The catalyst in all this uproar, is of course the infamous Becky Shaw, who came so late into the play that one begins to doubt her existence. Becky shows up for a blind date with Max (adoptive brother) which ends in mayhem. From there, events spiral uncontrollably and aimlessly until the cast takes its final bow without resolving any of the conundrum put forth previously. At the end, Becky Shaw takes her leave as she came — like an afterthought.

The lady to my left was snoring. But the night’s still young — what’s on TV?

Cast
Tessa Auberjonois – Suzanna Slater
Brian Avers – Max Garrett
Angela Goethals – Becky Shaw
Graham Michael Hamilton – Andrew Porter
Barbara Tarbuck – Susan Slater

BECKY SHAW
by Gina Gionfriddo
directed by Pam MacKinnon
October 22 – November 21, 2010 at the South Coast Repertory, California