Becky's New Car - Urbane, Sophisticated & CrassWednesday, May 12, 2010
Today, when Rosemary and I attended the opening performance of Stephen Dietz’s Becky’s New Car at the Arts Club Theatre Company’s Granville Stage we did not know what to expect. We went prepared to laugh. Anything with Jackson Davies (left) will be funny and fun. And so it was. But there was more to the play than met the eye.
The first act was, indeed, funny and it featured an over-the-top performance by Deborah Williams as Becky a woman supposed to be living somewhere in Seattle but more likely in the bowels of Whalley, BC. Every time I heard her whiny voice I cringed in pain. But she grew on me and I began to feel sorry for her life. I came to the conclusion that the play was about a woman in a midlife-wife crisis whose crisis is not going to be solved by a brand new read Miata. The deus ex machina ends up being a big, bad, black car.
The first act ended predictably and Rosemary and I thought we knew how it was all going to pan out in the second. “I would like to be home, now,” Rosemary told me. “Do you want to leave?” “No, I want to see what Pia [Shandel] looks like.” And so we stayed.
We were rewarded by all kinds of unexpected events and twists all performed by an excellent cast of characters just right in their parts. Cavan Cunningham, as Joe played a not-your-average (as in always drunk and stupid) roofer, Hrothgar Matthews as Steven is the my-wife-died-I-will-never-forget-her car salesman who knows nothing of Italian shoes. Kevin Stark as Chris is the roofer and Becky’s live-in-at-home forever professional student son. Stark is the perfect geek who attracts the bored-with-perfection young lady Kennie (the perennially sexy Lindsey Angell, below).
But for me what worked best was the suaveness of Jackson Davies (Walter Flood, the my-wife-died-I-will-never-forget-her and millionaire commercial sign owner, same amount of hair but a lot taller than Jimmy Pattison) foiled by the Surrey antics of the multi-spaced challenged (am I in my office or in my house?) Becky.
The end of this play is an expected, unexpected one that satisfies. Part of the reason for me was the performance of Cavan Cunningham’s Joe who is the only rock of stability in this play. He plays it convincingly. Will he forgive Becky? Will the big and black car intercede for them?
In a not a very big part, Pia Shandell (above, right) brings lots of sophistication and an honesty that is not all acted but perhaps autobiographical. Rosemary was happy and so was I. And I have to clarify here that I did see Pia Shandell, many moons ago at the Arts Club Theatre on Seymour Street. I hope to see her in more plays soon.
Should William Shatner not become our country’s next Governor General I would assert that Jackson Davies would probably do a better job. Like Shatner he would bring in humor. But unlike Shatner, Davies would add elegance and class. And besides we all know how great Davies looks in uniform.
Becky's New Car is on until June 5