Directed by Damon Kiely
Produced by The Route 66 Theatre Company
At the Richard Christiansen Theater at Victory Gardens Biograph
Raw, rancorous and rowdy new comedy filled with laughs
“Yinz don’t needta worrybahta thing.” –Guy McMeekin
I must admit that raw kitchen sink comedies, especially with ignorant, blue collar characters, leave me cold. I find them more upsetting than funny; more crude that sophisticated. I guess I never liked rancorous, physical and loud-mouthed TV sitcoms and Scott T. Barsotti’s world premiere McMeekin Finds Out reminds me of those. I must admit that I am a minority on this show since the opening night audience laughed throughout – I didn’t.
I was turned off my the irritating persona -played marvelously with a crude low-class Midwestern accent by Randy Steinmeyer. His Guy McMeekin is a loser handyman suffering from a car accident he caused. His character is a stupid, talky (and at times a screamer) who philosophizes and rationalizes his low life where he sees everything in football terms – after all he is a Pittsburgh Steeler fan! I find nothing funny in such characters as they nauseate me.
So, in fairness, let me become a reporter and an observer of Barsotti’s family comedy. Guy has his hands in a cast and his wife, Pam (Kate Buddeke) has a broken leg (also in a cast). Both are becoming mutual irritants as they spend too much time together. When their 17 year old daughter comes home at 7:30 am after a night of drinking and parting, Carla (Blair Robertson) tells her parents that she did something horrible. It takes time and much screaming but eventually Carla informs her parents that she raped a guy at the party. Of course, they don’t believe her. She is filled with guilt and wants to be forgiven by her victim.
Guy and Pam with help from their son Bobby (Tyler Ross), set into motion a series of mishaps, mayhem and madness around the concept of a petite teenager girl raping a football player. The silliness and the physical action escalates into hilarity as the preposterous action unfolds. The audience laughed as the players raced out of control. This is raw sitcom humor that you’ll either find funny or stupid. Randy Steinmeyer is terrific as the goofy father. If you like outrageous comedy then McMeekin Finds Out will be a fun evening of theatre. The production values of the Route 66 production are worthy. The comedy is fast paced and wacky. Don’t let my aversion to this style of comedy deter you from having fun at this show.
At the Victory Gardens Biograph Christiansen Theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL, call 312-871-3000, www.route66theatre.com, Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 4:30 & 8 pm, Sundays at 2:30pm, running time is 1 hour, 50 minutes with intermission.