With a lesser actor in the lead role, Becky’s New Car, simply would not have enough gas to get us to playwright Steven Dietz’ final destination. Fortunately though that is not the case in the current Arts Club production, where Deb Williams carries the show to the finish line in style and a great deal of fun.
Becky Foster (Williams) is a pretty typical middle-aged wife and mother who not only takes care of her household, including husband Joe (Cavan Cunningham) and son Chris (Kevin Stark), she also holds down a full-time job at a local car dealership. Life for the Foster family is pretty mundane and perfect fodder for a mid-life crisis. But where one would typically think that it would be husband Joe going off in search of a “new car” (which Becky tells us earlier signifies the desire for a new life), playwright Dietz turns things slightly on its head and sends Becky off to the car lot instead.
To say Dietz’ script has enough coincidences and improbabilities to, excuse the pun, drive a semi-truck through, is an understatement. He also breaks down that fourth wall between audience and actors on a number of occasions with varied results. Nevertheless, with the quirky and at times almost manic Williams, Becky’s New Car definitely entertains.
Other standouts here include Jackson Davies as Becky’s “new car” Walter as a nice counterpoint to Becky’s mania and Cunningham’s Joe is the rock who ultimately decides that the rather mundane life he and Becky live is okay.
Alison Green’s set was a bit of a disappointment and I couldn’t help but think it was being designed with a road trip in mind. There was little to differentiate the various locales, especially when we moved from the rather commonplace Foster home to the balcony of Walter’s mansion.
Fun and ultimately frivolous, this Arts Club production may not be breaking any new ground, but with Williams in the driver’s seat this is one ride you’ll definitely want to consider.
Becky’s New Car
Arts Club Granville Island Stage
6 May – 5 June 2010
Finding the On-Ramp to Happiness. Becky is married. Check. With one son, in college. Check, check. Living a perfectly ordinary life. Check. But she wants more. When an unexpected offer for just that—from a dashing millionaire, no less—falls into her lap, Becky embarks on a comic and poignant joyride that may change everything forever. Tickets are $25 and $45, inclusive of all tax and fees. Call the Arts Club Box Office at 604.687.1644 or visit artsclub.com.