Paul Rudnick’s Regrets Only is set in high-powered Manhattan and focuses in on an array of shallowly developed characters. There’s Jack (Michael Brocki), a big-time attorney, his wife Tibby (Lynda Clark), and their soon-to-be-married daughter Spencer (Lori Ingle Taylor), as well as long-time friend and fashion designer Hank (Rick Meadows) and a saucy maid named Myra (Cameron West).
Rudnick’s paper-thin script explores what happens when Jack announces to his family and to Hank, who happens to be gay, that he has been enlisted to help create an amendment to ban gay marriage. Myra pops in and out of their unsubtle, musing conversations that ensue on the topic, delivering zingy one-liners that begin as humorous but that grow old all-too-quickly- a problem that affects the script as a whole. West does what the script calls for and does garner quite a few laughs, but even her hilarity isn’t enough to save this bland book.
Rudnick has written a “social commentary” that is too heavy-handed and on-the-nose to really make much of an impression. The farce-like, over-the-top script, however, is handled as well as possible by director Ira David Wood IV and the (mostly) gifted cast of actors he has assembled.
Clark and Taylor provide some of the show’s most genuinely funny moments with Brocki keeping up with their antics quite nicely. Meadows is weak here, which is unfortunate since he’s given some of the script’s (very few) poignant lines. The pacing is quick and punchy, adding some life into the long conversations that the play is composed of.
While most would find the show at least somewhat funny and the performances and direction commendable, there’s really nothing too special here. In fact, the play serves merely as a sad reminder that, in this day and age, gay marriage is still an issue worthy of debating.
Theatre in the Park presents REGRETS ONLY at 7:30 p.m. April 3 and 4, 3 p.m. April 5, 7:30 p.m. April 10 and 11, 3 p.m. April 12 in the Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre, 107 Pullen Rd., Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.
TICKETS: $22 ($16 students, seniors, and active-duty military personnel), except $15 per person for groups of 10 or more.
BOX OFFICE: 919-831-6058 or http://www.etix.com/.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-831-6058 or http://theatreinthepark.com/whatson/group-sales.
SHOW: http://theatreinthepark.com/calendar/event/45 and https://www.facebook.com/events/975230332510997/.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.theatreinthepark.com/, and https://www.facebook.com/theatreintheparkraleigh, https://twitter.com/TheatreInPark, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatre_in_the_Park.
NOTE: All shows are wheelchair/walker accessible, and large-print playbills are usually available.
Regrets Only (2006 Off-Broadway drawing-room comedy): http://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3856 (Dramatists Play Service, Inc.), http://paulrudnick.com/secret/plays/ (Paul Rudnick’s website), http://www.lortel.org/ (Internet Off-Broadway Database), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Rudnick (Wikipedia).
Paul Rudnick (Piscataway, NJ-born playwright and screenwriter,): http://paulrudnick.com/secret/ (official website), http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=8063 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.lortel.org/ (Internet Off-Broadway Database), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Rudnick (Wikipedia).
Ira David Wood IV (Raleigh, NC director): https://www.facebook.com/ira.d.wood (Facebook page) and http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0939505/ (Internet Movie Database).
EDITOR’S NOTE: Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh’s Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts and Entertainment articles and reviews, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/susie-q/. To read more of her writings, click http://www.susiepotter.com and http://www.myspace.com/susiepotter.