BWW Review: Theatre in the Park's IT'S ONLY A PLAY Has Makings of a Good Show, but...

BWW Review: Theatre in the Park's IT'S ONLY A PLAY Has Makings of a Good Show, but...

There's an irony about sitting in a theater on opening night reviewing a play about a play and the sometimes-tempestuous relationship between the players and the critics. But that's exactly what Terrence McNally's IT'S ONLY A PLAY is about, a group of theater people waiting for the reviews of their play after the opening night performance. Last week, the show opened at Theatre in the Park (TIP) in Raleigh to mixed reviews.

All the makings of a good show are there. The ensemble features some of the Triangle's most exceptional comedic performers including Ira David Wood IV, Brian Westbrook, Rob Jenkins, and Lynda Clark. In addition, the production is directed by the ever so talented Jesse R. Gephart. And the set is simply spectacular.

But not even this talented cast and crew can save McNally's script, which feels more like a diatribe than a farce. Yes, there are funny moments, but they are few and far between and more reliant on the physical comedy of the competent cast than McNally's pen.

IT'S ONLY A PLAY is a revision of McNally's 1978 play BROADWAY, BROADWAY, which closed after an abysmal out-of-town tryout in Philadelphia. But McNally persisted and after renaming the play and rewriting and updating it three times over the course of 36 years, the show opened on Broadway in 2014 and became a box office success.

The takeaway from IT'S ONLY A PLAY is that when one show closes, another one opens, or onward and upward as the say, which is why after having enjoyed so many of TIP's productions this season, including the hilarious IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU, I'm looking forward to their next show, IT IS DONE.

And honestly, what do I know, anyway? After all, in the words of McNally himself, "I'm only a critic."

IT'S ONLY A PLAY runs through August 26th at Theatre in the Park. For more information visit:

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From This Author Lauren Van Hemert

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