Every year during Mardi Gras along comes a play featuring loads of male full frontal nudity. This year Take Me Out is that play. Thankfully, it’s also much more than that.
Gay men who play sports at the A Grade level have always done it tough, so this play tries to show just how tough it is. Set entirely in a baseball locker room this is the story of Darren Lemming, baseball superstar who has just announced that he is gay! Not only that, Darren is bi-racial, with one white and one black parent. Darren is so confident and his star shines so brightly that he doesn’t think that coming out will have any consequences.
It starts innocently enough with a small number of his team having some difficulty being naked around him, but it’s not until the introduction of a new star player in the form of Shane Mungitt that the trouble begins. Shane is an incredible pitcher, but he doesn’t say much, so Kippy Sunderstrom (who also narrates the play and speaks directly to the audience) attempts to get him to speak. Well this opens a pandora’s box and once he starts to speak everyone wishes he would stop.
Homophobia, racism, love, hate, tenderness and violence and are covered in this extremely confronting play. Act one starts off light and you think you’re in for a comedy, but by the beginning of act two things start to spiral out of control and you know you’re in for a very bumpy ride.
The performances from the ensemble are very strong, Terence Priester is confident and sexy as Darren, Nick Curnow is heartbreakingly real as Darren’s business manager who also happens to be madly in love with him. Michael Howlett as Kippy (our narrator) engages the audience beautifully, but it’s Andrew Johnston’s strong performance as Shane who really makes you sit up and take notice.
As for the frontal nudity, well there is plenty of it, from the opening scene to two shower scenes – it’s right there in your face.
This play will make you think, feel and react, it is an emotional rollercoaster. You may not walk out of this play feeling buoyant and happy, but you will walk away feeling proud.