Saturday, May 4, 2024
Curtain Up Phoenix


For the end of their current season, they have brought back playwright Steve Yockey’s new play “Sleeping Giant.”  He has penned several popular Stray Cat productions including “Mercury,” “Pluto,” “Wolves,” and “Octopus.”

In addition to presenting Yockey’s latest play, Stray Cat’s artistic director Ron May is staging the production...The result is an inspired topical work with a bizarre plot.  It is filled with characters like you and me dealing with situations which could parallel things happening today while suggesting the extremes to which some people will go.

In “Sleeping Giant,” Ryan presents a spicy marriage proposal but the theatrical event awakens an ancient creature who has been sleeping for generations in a nearby lake.  Local residents become obsessed by the being and anyone who touches it is impacted by weird things. 

Yockey has filled this horror tale with lots of comic gems that break up the terrible consequences with bright wit.  It makes the impacts of events on these people a bit more tolerable and allows Yockey to make his points distinctly.

Not only is May’s staging sure and steady but he has attracted a winning cast full of new and longtime Stray Cat players to bring these challenging characters to vibrant and believable life.  The four-person acting ensemble play multiple roles making each character distinctive as the actors jump easily and quickly back and forth among the diverse personalities.

Louis Farber heads the cast as The Raconteur making each of his four weirdos acceptably different even though they all stem from the same unusual approaches to life.  Ksjusha Povod plays five feminine roles with spit and polish while Tanner J. Conley handles various male characters who shade the many situations.  Allison Sell brings gifted comic timing and delivery to other bizarre characters.

...a superlative production of a scary new play that should make us all think about our society and the direction we want it to go.

Grade: A