Tuesday, November 29, 2016

reviews - ANYTHING YOU HEAR AND ONLY HALF OF WHAT YOU SEE - Stray Cat Theatre

Ryan L. Jenkins, Nathan Spector, Doug Waldo, David Weiss, Eric Zaklukiewicz and Van Rockwell
Photo by John Groseclose
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through December 10th.

"...In a market where plays and musicals are often repeated, sometimes with alarming regularity, there’s something both refreshing and exciting about seeing a brand new play that has little to no history. ....True to the play’s title, much of what we both see and hear isn’t exactly what we’re meant to believe. Like the best of mysteries where events have already occurred, through hints, declarations and slow reveals, the puzzle starts to form a picture, but there’s always a few pieces missing; nothing’s ever quite complete. ...What strikes you within the first few seconds of mailman George’s questioning is how unusually articulate everyone is. As the 90 minute play unfolds, each has a speech, a monolog of sorts, and while some of the writing is often sharp and darkly witty, the dialog is delivered by each character with the same theatrical voice, and it’s author Ron Hunting’s by way of Quentin Tarantino. In speech alone there’s little individuality. The plots’s twists and turns as events develop are well planned, and more importantly, unpredictable. There’s no guessing where things are headed, and the surprises and reveals are good ones.  Plus, director Louis Farber handles the movements and the placing of the several characters well..The Tarantino influence is heavy throughout.  Characters speak at length in clever asides and ...while it all may raise a smile of recognition, it also feels just a little false and sometimes misplaced. ...Funny in a sit-com perhaps, but this is meant to be Tarantino-esque black humor, and the comical bickering needs to develop naturally at the right moment.  Here it feels as though it’s trying too hard." -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

".Stray Cat Theatre is known for presenting highly regarded Arizona premiere productions of award-winning Off-Broadway plays. But they are now producing, for the first time, the world premiere of a new play. Written by local actor and playwright Ron Hunting, Anything You Hear and Only Half of What You See is an intriguing black comedy that focuses on the interrogation of witnesses to a crime. With plenty of twists and turns in Hunting's well-crafted script, Stray Cat's production has good direction and a fairly talented cast that keep the tension and interest high. Set in an abandoned warehouse in Phoenix, the ninety-minute drama plays out over just a couple of days as a group of individuals are kidnapped and then questioned after one of them, a postman, witnesses a possible murder. ...billed as a cross between Quentin Tarantino and David Mamet, which is a fair assessment since it is peppered with some humorous moments and sharp dialogue amongst the more intense and violent interactions. It also has several interesting plot twists and an ending that has a nice payoff, all of which you never see coming. There are a couple of small plot holes and some moments where the comedic lines are a bit out of place, even though this is a black comedy, as they don't exactly ring true considering they are delivered by individuals being held at gun point. ...The play is a true ensemble piece with good work from David Weiss as George, the mailman who witnessed the murder, and Ryan L. Jenkins as the intellectual leader of the interrogators. Both deliver layered performances of these two very different people. ...Louis Farber directs with a firm but balanced hand which ensures the tension remains taut and the comedic moments pop. However, he could add a bit more menace in the portrayals of the three interrogators to set a more appropriate level of fear and danger which would make the humorous moments have even more resonance.... While it makes for an engaging dramatic experience, with a few more updates to the script and a little more threatening sense of danger in the acting it could be an even more absorbing play and production. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

COMING SOON --Chris Curcio, KBAQ (click here to read the complete review)

COMING SOON - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

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