I'd been looking forward to Gina Gionfriddo's Becky Shaw as everything I'd heard said it was hilarious. The play comes to the Almeida with its original American director, Peter DuBois, and one of the original stars, David Wilson Barnes. Suzanna's (Anna Madeley) father has just died, leaving her less well off than she thought. Barnes plays her adopted brother Max, and the two have always had some sexual tension which resolves itself as they try to deal with the inheritance problems. Cut to eight months later and in a whirlwind romance Suzanna has married Andrew (Vincent Montuel) and the two of them try to fix up Max with Becky Shaw (Daisy Haggard,) a blind date that'll have unexpected repercussions.
The audience was howling with laughter from start to finish at the one-liners but at best this raised a few smiles from me and by the end I was just impatient for it to end. I think the problem was that despite the efforts of the excellent cast (which also includes a criminally underused Haydn Gwynne as Suzanna's mother) I just could not bring myself to care in the least bit for the characters or their problems. Jonathan Fensom's set cleverly uses a revolve to effect brisk scene-changes but I found the production soulless. Should you go see it? Everyone else seems to love it so you probably will too. Can I personally recommend it? I'm afraid I can't, by the end I felt like Tamsin Greig in Love Soup, wondering if I was the only person in the room not laughing.
At least one thing I'd heard about the show did hold true - someone on the lowculture forums mentioned Vincent Montuel having incredible nipples, and I can confirm that they do have a perkiness that is almost Treadawayesque.
Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo is booking until the 5th of March at the Almeida Theatre.