Review: "Becky's New Car"

Steven Dietz play brings big laughs to the IRT.

April 2, 2010
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With plot holes big enough to drive the title vehicle through and turns that are signaled long before they are taken, Steven Dietz’s comedy “Becky’s New Car” (through April 11 at the Indiana Repertory Theatre) still manages to be a highlight of the Indy theater season so far.

It pulls that off in large part thanks to Constance Macy, offering an open, winning performance as a women in is-this-all-there-is mode. She's ably assisted by Nicholas Hormann as her distracted, wealthy temptation.

There's plenty to nitpick. The ending is fuzzy. The farcical elements seem to be dodged before they fully develop. And the supporting characters often don't seem to be in the same play. Becky's husband Joe, for instance, seems cut from Neil Simon cloth (which makes me want to see actor Robert Neal take on some of the better Simon plays). Past-her-prime debutante Ginger seems to come from a '30s comedy by a lesser Philip Barry. And office-annoyance Steve is pitched by writer, director and playwright at the level of Disney Channel sitcom comic relief.

Dietz knows his way around punch lines, though, and is adept at keeping the piece moving forward. At almost every moment, we want to know what's going to happen next (even if we already have a pretty good idea). It doesn't arrive at any place new, but that's okay, since we're with someone we've grown to care about, despite her indescretions. By breaking the fourth wall and welcoming us into her home and workspace--sometimes by actually bringing audience members on stage--"Becky's New Car" reminds us of how fun a comedy for the masses can be. And that a play doesn't have to explore new territory to still be a journey worth taking.

For more details on the production, click here.

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