“Let the Right One In” – Stray Cat Theatre

Theater Review – April 21, 2019


Stray Cat Theatre, Studio Theatre, Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe, AZ

Stray Cat Theatre’s production of “Let the Right One In” is a terrifyingly violent play that is challenging to watch as it tells the tale of two losers who struggle to be part of a normal life and to establish a loving relationship but can’t because each character is plagued with scary deviations that separate the pair from regular people.  It is the problem of weird and unusual bringing-up that sets them apart from others and makes them seek to be different in the sense that makes neither one of them acceptable to most people.

One person, Eli, kills others while destroying everything they believe in.  Her neighbor, Oskar, falls in with Eli and in an attempt to be accepted by his neighbor duplicates her bizarre behaviors.  Eli has been raised by an off-center weirdo who has taught her the strange reactions she has to situations.  She is able to pull Oskar into her strange thinking.  Oskar’s clueless mother is unable to control him or get him to see logic for regular thinking and reactions to people and situations.

“Let the Right One In” is disturbing to watch and it is difficult to believe that anyone would be forced into a non-thinking situation where they would believe the extreme approach people deal with life.  But as weird and unusual as “Let the Right One In” is there is no questioning that the Stray Cat Theatre production methodically staged by Ron May is expertly performed by an acting ensemble of competent performers.  Brittney Watson is masterful as Eli starting out as a regular appearing girl next door type but artfully evolving into a maniacal and debouched psycho.  That she can so craftily draw Oskar to her and her bizarre thinking is a testament to her fine performance.  Nathaniel Smith, a last-minute replacement in the pivotal role of Oskar, is also perfection as a regular appearing guy who is taken with Eli’s bizarre reflections of normal.  The rest of the large ensemble essays their roles with clear distinctions and you see and understand the thinking and persuasions of each player.

“Let The Right One In” is not an easy piece of theater to watch and the diabolical and unusual thinking of the characters does not make this easy theater to become engrossed in but if the unusual and bizarre has appeal, “Let the Right One In” may just be the most relevant piece of theater presented by a Valley theater this season.  The play continues through May 4 at the Tempe Center for the Arts.  For tickets, order online at www.straycattheatre.org or www.tca.ticketforce.com or call the box office at 480-350-2822.

Grade: A-


One Response to ““Let the Right One In” – Stray Cat Theatre”

  1. Chris Curcio said:

    Apr 29, 19 at 13:14

    We, in the Phoenix theater community, are so lucky to have Stray Cat Theatre that always does remarkable productions of unusual shows that no other local company would ever produce. Thanks Ron May for bringing us great theater. It is so nice for a theater critic to have challenging theater to review and by a company that consistently strives to do the best possible productions of difficult plays. So glad that someone in the local community approves of and supports the fine theater the company always does.