Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo

To the Almeida for this. It is a real blast. That old narrative chestnut that sees a stranger shake up a happy family is as delicious as ever, the family in this case, however, not being remotely happy. Death, incest, robbery at gun point, casual sex, harassment, racial stereotyping, pornography... The play is full of mortal (and moral) shakings; moreover, it is very very funny. Funniest of all is the character Max, played quite brilliantly by David Wilson Barnes. He is monstrous. Viciously cynical, lacking in all magnanimity, he does however tend to tell the truth. And perhaps herein lies the chief intellectual conceit of the play: the truth-teller is the monster. Sometimes it is better to lie. This is certainly the view of the psychotherapist and chief female protagonist, Suzanna, played with the right mix of vulnerability and steel by Anna Madeley. In between the lies and the cruel truths love lies bleeding. Thoroughly enjoyable!

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