The Lyric Stage rings in the holidays this year with a comedy by Steven Dietz. BECKY’S NEW CAR (running through Dec. 22nd) is a road show of sorts. Becky (Celeste Oliva) is unfulfilled at work, at home (and in her ho hum marriage) when a small mistake leads to a big chance for escape. As she explains to us in her opening monologue, if a woman says she wants new shoes, it means she wants a new job. If she says she wants a new house, what she wants is a new husband. And if she wants a new car, she really wants a new life.
I’m a fan of Dietz’s charming SHOOTING STAR (about a couple snowed in at an airport) but I don’t think he sustains the comedy in BECKY’S NEW CAR. Act I is over the top, with audience participation and actors flying down a playground slide but Act II changes direction completely and threads of the story seem to have been dropped, leaving me flummoxed. To be fair, a friend of mine thoroughly enjoyed the ride. She says the play is all about the “road not taken.” I think the dramatic chaos just got to me.
Director Larry Coen’s cast work like mad to get all the laughs they can from the material. With crackerjack actors like Will McGarrahan and Kortney Adams on stage, there’s always hope—but for me, Becky’s car just sputtered along.