The new troupe Plus One Productions' debut restages Richard Greenberg's 2002 Broadway drama Take Me Out -- about an African-American baseball star who comes out of the closet -- for a black-box setting. The production's success owes more to its Tony Award–winning material than the uneven staging (illness forced a director swap a couple days before opening -- Emanuel Millar is credited), but the all-male cast showcases several encouraging standout performances.
Barry Brisco demonstrates brilliant range as Darren Lemming, a charismatic golden boy subdued when his announcement stirs up controversy, while Kyle Colton somehow imbues Shane Mungitt, the off-balance pitcher whose casual bigotry turns explosive, with sympathetic menace.
Greenberg has a playwright's passion for the authority of speech and how language shapes reality, which he indulges in flights of reflection: Resident wise man Kippy Sunderstrom (Will Bethencourt) and Lemming's gay business manager (Richard Sabine) in particular beautifully bring these themes to light.
Note: Be prepared for plenty of shower scenes with full-frontal nudity.
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Plus One Productions, Flight Theater at The Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; Mon., Jan. 20, 4 & 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 1, 2 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 2, 8:30 p.m.; through Feb. 2. (818) 825-3153, www.plusoneproductionsla.com.
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