Richard Greenberg's Tony-Award winning drama "Take Me Out" gets a welcomed mounting in the intimate 49-seat Flight Theatre in the Complex.
Gay theatre aficionados may remember "Take Me Out" for the extended shower scenes of its baseball players. And, yes, they're nude in this small theatre!
Greenberg's script, a finalist in the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, lays out the subsequent events that result after Darren Lemming, a superstar baseball player publicly announces he's gay.
Barry Brisco inhabits Lemming with more sensitivity and humanity than previous interpretations I've seen.
As Lemming's closest friend and teammate, Kippy narrates and guides the audience through their two-hour-and-twenty trials and tribulations.
Will Bethencourt charismatically commands the stage with insights, warmth, compassion, and sense of humor making Kippy a friend everyone would want in their corner.
Accompanying his coming out, Lemming gets a new business manager/accountant in the personage of baseball non-enthusiast Mason portrayed most flamboyantly by Richard Sabine.
Others in this talented ensemble having their moments to shine include Kyle Colton as Shane, the talented but conflicted pitcher with a troubled past; Takumi Bansho as Kawabata, the non-English speaking star pitcher from Japan; Justin Teitell as Jason, the naive country bumpkin with not a mean bone in his body or mean thought in his head; Peter Stoia as the always-speaks-his-mind Toddy, even if all his mind isn't always there; and PJ Waggaman as the Coach who leads with a lighter touch.
Technical elements (Kyle Colton's set design, John Toom's lighting, and Justin Orkin's sound) very good and comparable to larger equity-waiver houses, save two instances which possibly director Emanuel Millar could remedy.
Scenes/location changes were handled smoothly and efficiently via spotlighting and a movement of a piece of furniture or two.
Except for the not-invisible transformation of the locker room into Mason's apartment. A few pieces of props thrown over an intricate locker room set strains the audience's belief in switching scene/location.
Also, during Mason's initial revealing monologue, the teammates distractingly take focus shower stage left.
Go for the nudity. Stay for the involving drama.
Performances thru February 2, 2014
The Flight Theatre in the Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., LA 90038
Thursdays thru Saturdays @ 8p & Sundays, Jan. 12 & 19 @ 7p, 26 @ 3p, & Feb. 2 @ 8:30p
For tickets, call (424) 333-2117 or online @ www.brownpapertickets.com/event/532655.