Becky Shaw - Theatre Review

Romantic comedy BECKY SHAW was a huge hit off-Broadway and has become the hottest ticket off-West End during its London run at the Almeida Theatre in Islington.

PULITZER Prize finalist Becky Shaw was a huge hit Off-Broadway for TV and stage writer Gina Gionfriddo.

The British premi�re of this stunning ‘rom com’ gone wrong is fast proving the hottest ticket Off-West End too, at the Almeida.

The frenetically paced action centres on a disastrous blind date between seemingly vulnerable and definitely over-dressed Becky (the impressive Daisy Haggard) and cynical, downright rude money-man, Max, played by David Wilson Barnes from the original US production.

The fallout includes a violent robbery and blackmail – not to mention bad sex – and has nigh on catastrophic repercussions for Max’s stepsister Suzanna and her gorgeous, somewhat drippy husband Andrew, who apparently has a penchant for women in distress.

An ingenious revolving stage solves the problem of multiple scene changes while preserving breakneck-speed momentum. However, the set’s complexity is nothing compared to the hilariously tangled relationships acted brilliantly on it, or indeed each character’s constantly shifting moral ground.

Gionfriddo toys devilishly with fine lines between love, hurt, good, bad, vulnerability and manipulation to devastating comic effect, often leaving the audience in hysterics.

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“This isn’t Jane Austen’s England,” Max remarks at one point, implicitly contrasting an imagined world of neat love matches and happy endings with their own hotch-potch of pain, confusion and deceit.

His view of Austen, like much else, may be flawed, but we know what he means.

* Showing at the Almeida Theatre in Almeida Street, N1 until Saturday, March 5.