The force of Widdall's performance, though, comes not from the way he looks or carries himself; it's because of the passion he gives Kennedy - or, perhaps, appropriates from Kennedy. Either way, you're in for a portrayal that comes across as genuine and straightforward.
RFK is directed by Ginger Dayle, the company's producing artistic director, and it's the first time she herself has staged a play. She does a fine job of pacing Widdall and neatly melding the play's intricacies; RFK, like many single-character shows, shifts back and forth in time, but does so with grace and electricity. One minute you're watching Kennedy fail at making a good campaign ad, the next he's at home trying to fend off his many children, and after that he's in South Africa giving an antiapartheid speech.
Jack Holmes, a playwright who's done much research, weaves us solidly into the '60s with realistic talk from John F. Kennedy's brother, who was his campaign manager, then attorney general, and later a U.S. senator from New York. When he was assassinated in 1968 at 42, Bobby Kennedy was a Democratic contender for president.
If you can remember that time, Widdall's performance will resonate with you. If you're not, look and learn. RFK's concerns and interests, and the way Widdall telegraphs them in his portrayal, are a catalog of the era's issues - everything from the new music (Grace Slick et al) to Vietnam (he split vocally with President Lyndon B. Johnson, who supported and enlarged it), to his brother's mistakes and challenges, and his own.
The feel of that time is made complete by Ren Manley's superb video and sound design - she's collected just the right footage and smartly put it together, not just for the show, but for the minutes before it begins and all through its intermission. One thing becomes clear: It was the era of Camelot, and it was also a terrible time.
Contact Howard Shapiro at 215-854-5727, firstname.lastname@example.org, or #philastage on Twitter. Read his recent work at www.philly.com/howardshapiro. Hear his reviews at the Classical Network, www.wwfm.org.