Interventions can take place anywhere. In the case of Hitchhikers May Be Inmates, one starts in a diner with J.D. (Kevin Crowley, also the playwright) waiting patiently for David (Michael Bath) to stop crying. J.D. is the sponsor, you see, but he’s not very conventional in his approach.
That’s the setup for this clever, well-acted piece about addiction. We learn some backstory from these two guys, much of it heart wrenching while at times also being gut-bustlingly funny. Crowley typically hasn’t acted in the plays he’s written. In this show, though, his voice is clearly congruent with the words in the script; he’s really one of Cincinnati’s most engrossing and captivating performers.
Bath is also great and equally as versatile. Both men show off at least a good part of their range. As the play progresses and the characters change, we see multiple sides of each. It’s a delight to watch these two actors play off of one another.
I would recommend sitting close; there’s a lot of dialogue and the acoustics at the 17 E. Court Street venue don’t lend themselves to subtlety. You really don’t want to miss any of the lines: Crowley has a knack for saying things in an honest way. He’s poignant without ever being schmaltzy; he’s insightful, but not preachy. Making his point hidden in the context of his own unique brand of humor might just be his best gift.
Court Street is a storefront venue on a busy street, so outside distractions are probable. These two veteran actors rolled with the challenges of the space and earned appreciation from those in attendance. Under the guidance of director (and master stage technician) Buz Davis, they will be soaring by the time this one wraps up.
Hitchhikers May Be Inmates won’t move you in quite the same way that Crowley’s 2015 award winner Sarge did. There’s a very different tone here. But fans of Crowley’s work for Fringe and at the Clifton Performance Theatre certainly won’t be disappointed.
Kirk Sheppard is a professional counselor and theatre blogger, covering professional theatre in Cincinnati and surrounding areas. Follow his blog, The Sappy Critic.