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. To say anything more about the plot would reveal too much and take away from the fun of experiencing this new work live.
Hunting's dramatic script is being 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.
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. Devon Nickel and Nathan Spector portray the two men who work for Jenkins and they both provide solid performances filled with annoyance and anger which is the result of working for Jenkins' controlling character and having to deal with the irritating people they are interrogating. Doug Waldo, Van Rockwell, and Eric Zaklukiewicz play the three men who are pulled into the interrogation due to their relationship to Weiss' character. Waldo and Rockwell are fun as the constantly bickering friends and Zaklukiewicz is appropriately nerdy and nervous as George's milquetoast accountant.
Louis Farber directs with a firm but balanced hand which ensures the tension remains taut and the comedic moments pop.