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All words: Katie Murray

Blind dates are almost always slapped with the “totally miserable” stereotype, and for fair enough reason.  Merciful buddies pairing single friends together because hey, they might be compatible, find true love and live happily ever after (or at least get lucky after some dinner and dranks).  Potential emotional baggage and conflicting expectations loom over any two single strangers getting together, but what happens when twisted perceptions and general crooked shit happens on the blind date that causes collateral damage to the people who set them up?

Roundhouse Theater’s production of “Becky Shaw” opened in Bethesda Monday night and left audience members giggling at the awkwardness of self-indulgent grief, intense narcissism, emotional denial and various self-centered attempts at establishing the parameters of loving relationships.  Suzanna (Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan) is a junk-TV-watching mess, wallowing in a hotel room for four months after her father’s death, bitching about her mother Susan (Brigid Cleary) who’s in town to settle their family’s estate.  Enter Max (Will Gartshore), Suzanna’s Wall Street-type brother figure, charging around the room commanding Suzanna to take control of her life.  Fast forward a year later, and Suzanna is married to Andrew (Rex Daugherty), a former barista who is finishing his novel.  Suzanna and Andrew decide to set Max up with Andrew’s delicate coworker, Becky Shaw (Michelle Six), whose baggage sets off a “chain of catalcysmic events” that challenges Max, Suzanna and Andrew’s boundaries of love.

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Written by Gina Gionfriddo, “Becky Shaw” is a show filled with stubborn, unlikeable characters that are extremely hilarious.  Director Patricia McGregor keeps the show tight, with dialogue delivered at an intensity that parallels the sharp emotional tensions between characters.  Unfortunately, Gartshore and Keegan are one-note in this intensity – unforgiving as whiney, furrowed Suzanna and vein, bulging, irate Max – making the most prominent characters the weakest in the end.   Together, though, the entire ensemble is commanding, quick and excellent in their comedic timing, which made the production a very entertaining experience.  The set design by Daniel Conway is a highlight – not everyday you see an awesome rotating puzzle set that configure 5 very distinct interiors.  And at $10/$15 ticket for age 30 and under, Tuesday thru Friday, you can’t beat seeing this quality production.  All in all, the show is an impressive and hilarious two hours well spent.

Becky Shaw is at Roundhouse Theatre through June 23rd.

And with $10 (Tuesday thru Friday) and $15 (Saturday & Sunday) tickets for age 30 and under, you can’t beat seeing this quality production.