Dark comedy is in the DNA at Tempe’s Stray Cat Theatre, but while there are a few laughs to be found in “The Whale,” they are overwhelmed by the unflinching honesty of the alternative troupe’s latest foray into the shadowy back alleys of the human experience.
The title role (sort of) in Samuel D. Hunter’s harrowing character study is Charlie, an Idaho shut-in so morbidly obese that he has lost track of his weight — north of 550 pounds, maybe even 600...This is a tough, tough role, both on the actor and the audience, and it’s hard to imagine a more powerful, laid-bare portrayal than that of Damon Dering. The founder of Stray Cat’s “sister company,” Nearly Naked Theatre, Dering is best known for his campy plus-size drag roles, but here he dons a different kind of physical disguise — a gigantic, mostly convincing fat suit — for what just might be the performance of a lifetime.
This is an impressive theatrical achievement, and one that won’t be easily forgotten.
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Review - Stray Cat Theatre's THE WHALE