“All New People” – Stray Cat Theatre

This review aired on KBAQ December 9, 2013


Stray Cat Theatre, Tempe Performing Arts Center
Tempe, AZ

If you want to laugh uncontrollably, Stray Cat Theatre’s Arizona premiere production of Zach Braff’s hysterical new play, “All New People,” will provide the non-stop delights.  Although I don’t laugh much even at the funniest stage comedy, I admit I was convulsed with laughter at the play’s weekend opening.  Not only is the play hilarious, but the snappy production makes use of the funny dialogue and wacky situation to provide frivolity.

The absurd situation makes this comedy zing.  Louis Farber’s quickly-paced pratfall staging features four funny comedians.  Another plus is that the comedy has nothing to do with Christmas, a welcome change from many local theaters that drag out holiday shows to put local audiences in a festive mood.

What makes “All New People” so funny?  The contrived situation, while unlikely to happen in reality, is so off-center crazy that zany fun results.  On top of the bizarre plot are four ding-a-ling characters that turn “All New People” into a delightful time.

The play tells about 35-year-old Charlie who’s in an unoccupied New Jersey summer home during a snow storm.  As the play opens, he stands on a chair about to place his neck in a noose made from an extension cord.  He’s trying to decide if his life should be over.  His unspoken debate is broken when Emma, a local real estate agent, arrives.  She’s wants Charlie to leave since she’s meeting a couple who might rent the house.  Next to arrive is Myron, a local firefighter who knows Emma.  He has nothing but sex on his mind so he creates an imaginary inferno to stop by.  His bizarre relationship with Emma further antagonizes Charlie.  Finally, Kim, a loose lady, is there to relieve Charlie’s tensions.  Wild malarkey transpires as things move in fanatical ways.  “All New People” defines this generation’s bizarre excesses.

Along with Farber’s radiant direction, the cast proves a hysterical quartet.  Michael Peck has the perfect sad-sack look for Charlie.  Angelica Howland never allows her British accent to flag as she brings comic frivolity to Emma.  Joseph Kremer is all pushy mayhem as the uncanny Myron.  Kim Richard plays Kim, the woman hired to please Charlie, with slutty sincerity.

“All New People” earns four stars out of five but the situation and dialogue will prove very adult for prudes.  It continues through December 21.  For tickets, call the Stray Cat Theatre box office at 480-227-1766 or order tickets online at www.straycattheatre.org.

Grade: B