Kudos to Ron May’s Stray Cat Theatre in Tempe for making going back to live theatre so much fun.
The theatre opened its new season with the 2016 one-person comedy ‘Bright Colors and Bold Patterns’ by Drew Droege. Director Louis Farber and actor Michael Thompson have collaborated to make a one-of-a-kind character demand attention the second he enters scenic designer Douglas Clarke’s outstanding Palm Springs pool-side set.
But despite Farber’s work and guidance, once house lights dim and curtain rises, the stage belongs solely to the actor, and in this 90 minute, no intermission, faster-than-light production, Thompson takes full control on his own, entering in a whirlwind as if already in 5th gear and taking no prisoners.
Gerry, who is never short for words, is livid because the wedding invitation for tomorrow’s ceremony specifically states in its dress code that no one will wear bright colors or bold patterns. Considering the flamboyant Gerry is the walking embodiment of someone who lives his life in bright colors and bold patterns and shouts it to anyone who’ll listen, the man has something to say. He’s the kind of guy you can enjoy from the safety of distance, but you wouldn’t want to be stuck in an elevator with him; five minutes you’re insane.
The comedy benefits from a lively, packed audience who respond not only to what they’re seeing on stage but to the laughter around them from each other. Plus, that energy felt from the house can galvanize a solo performance even further, though the matinee I went to with a smaller attendance tended to be muted, less demonstrative, altering the tone a degree. I kept wondering how evening audiences with a fuller attendance responded to Gerry’s ravings. However, you don’t need anyone around you to remind you to laugh during the Britney Spears ‘Work Bitch’ segment. I roared.
The show runs until October 2, followed by ‘Our Dear Dead Drug Lord’ opening October 29.