Psycho date night with ‘Becky Shaw’

It's mostly guilt free, and at the SF Playhouse opening night Becky Shaw reminded me perhaps of the last (only?) good reason to be married: so I don't need to play the dating game.

San Francisco Theater Review
Max tries to break it off with Becky. (Brian Robert Burns & Lauren English).
In Review

Becky Shaw

3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars - 'Worth a Look'
SF Playhouse
Directed by Amy Glazer
Starring Lauren English, Arwen Anderson, Brian Robert Burns, Lee Dolson, Lorri Holt and Liz Sklar
by Gina Gionfriddo
through March 10th
Regional Premiere
sfplayhouse.org
Review by
San Francisco Theater Review
Max tries to break it off with Becky. (Brian Robert Burns & Lauren English).

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Nothing is funnier than awkward dates. Well, that is, as long as you’re not a participant. With Becky Shaw to watch, however, is to revel in a calamity of co-dependence, ethics, and porn. It’s mostly guilt free, and at the opening night at SF Playhouse it reminded me perhaps of the last (only?) good reason to be married: so I don’t need to play the dating game.

Love is a mutually beneficial bargain

Gina Gionfreddo received a 2009 Pulitzer nomination for this play, and it’s easy to see why with the crackling dialog and layered relationships. Her characters are anything but black and white. They’re also entirely unlikable. Becky Shaw (Lauren English) is the hanger-on who can’t take no for an answer, and confuses sex with love. Max (Brian Robert Burns) is a calculating schemer with questionable ethics, trying to help his mother (Lorri Holt) manage the estate. His sister, Suzanna (Liz Sklar), is infatuated with grief. And new beau Andrew (Lee Dolson) is a super-soft, overly empathetic slacker.

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Ultimately, each is driven by their stubborn refusal to be, well, sane. High wattage vocals conspire to push the whine factor a bit too often for my liking, but in each of these personalities we can see dark slivers of ourselves.

Look for another whiz-bang set by artistic director by Bill English. Once again, it boggles the mind what can be done in small spaces.

Brownie points for a Nightmare on Elm Street 3 reference (“Where’s the bourbon, bitch”) and characters who love a glass or two of wine; a little booze, after all, is a dating prerequisite.

SPECIAL: Backstage at SF Playhouse with Susi Damilano

San Francisco Bay Area Arts and CultureBecky Shaw

3 out of 5 stars (Recommended)

SF Playhouse, San Francisco

Directed by Amy Glazer
Starring Lauren English, Arwen Anderson, Brian Robert Burns, Lee Dolson, Lorri Holt and Liz Sklar
by Gina Gionfriddo
through March 10th
Regional Premiere
sfplayhouse.org

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