Among the many great things about RTP’s “Take Me Out” is that it’s got something for everyone. I’ll avoid making this gender specific but, for sports-lovers, you’ve got a play about baseball. How many plays are there about sports? You can probably count them on one hand. For people who like hunky men, there are a slew of them partially or totally naked onstage, sometimes for extended periods of time. You’ve got plenty of laughs, from nicely cerebral ones (“the world’s old, there’ve been a lot of people; I extrapolate.”) to wonderfully slapsticky ones (almost anything involving Jay Welch’s Jason). My absolutely favorite part, however, is that you’ve got a script that is wholly original, exceedingly clever, nuanced and rich. It makes me curious about Richard Greenberg’s other works – he’s written some 25 or so plays but I’m only vaguely familiar with them, many of them only getting short Broadway runs.
Most notable for the Richmond production is the simply fantastic cast that director Scott Wichmann pulled together, anchored by bravura performances by Matt Hackman and Ronnie Brown, with an electrifying assist by Jimmy Glidden and genial, heart-warming support provided by Kirk Morton. The set with working showers is impressive – nice work John Knapp! – but made me wonder how warm the water was. I hope the guys weren’t wet and freezing along with naked. This was my first visit to the new RTP space and it was also charming, about a million steps up from the Fielden’s space in terms of quality (though lacking actual steps, thank goodness). I love the little bar tables in the back of the house and the selection of goodies at the bar.
I could wax poetic about “Take Me Out” for a while but mostly I want to post something before the show closes. I would strongly encourage anyone who has not seen this to figure out a way to see it in the next couple of days. It’s a truly exceptional theater experience.