Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Theatre Review: "Becky's New Car" from The Rep at Pittsburgh Playhouse.

An all-Pittsburgh cast romps at Point Park U’s The Rep having fun and passing it along in a jolly play by prolific Steven Dietz. Clever, well-developed Becky’s New Car doesn’t go very far or wide, but the trip has its pleasures due to some good writing and several truly appealing performances. Director Kim Martin gets all possible mileage out of it.

Becky Foster is an office manager at a car dealership. Wealthy billboard company owner and widower Walter Flood buys nine cars through Becky with whom he is also smitten, He mistakenly believes she’s a widow, an impression she doesn’t do much to correct. Becky’s reward for the sale is her own new car. And, for her, driving means freedom. So she wanders, leaving behind her puzzled psychology majoring college student son Chris and her laid-back roofing company owner husband Joe. Also at Becky’s office is  perpetually clumsy salesman Steve Singletary, another widower who may have lost his wife by accidentally dropping her off the edge of a cliff.

Dietz adds a few original touches by making some of this resemble stand-up comedy with Becky talking to the audience and to her tech people off stage. She also invites audience members to come on stage to advise her and to help her change clothes.

Dietz wrote many funny lines and sketched in amusing characters. You can’t doubt his skill or some of his clever devices. But the ride mostly becomes worth it due to engaging performances by Tony Bingham, Michael Fuller and Kevin Daniel O’Leary. Bingham’s natural relaxed charm perfectly suits the role of unassuming Joe. Fuller’s take on Steve never ceases to be hilarious. And, as young Chris, O’Leary brims with personality. Point Park U. MFA candidate Jodi Gage plays Becky and remains convincing as someone older. She plays cuteness well.

Dietz has not covered much new territory but what he mapped out stays completely entertaining and engaging. 

Becky’s New Car continues through February 17th  at Point Park University's Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Avenue, Oakland. 412/392.8000 or

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