Elizabeth, a youngish suburban mother, is determined to have a normal day. But there's a tree growing, upside down, in her kitchen. Her three-headed talking dog is acting churlishly. The announcer on her radio, which keeps turning itself on, is speaking directly to her. And someone keeps trying to climb out from inside her refrigerator.
Elizabeth is a character in a Steve Yockey play. A normal day doesn't seem likely.
If Pluto, now on stage at Stray Cat Theatre, comes across as one long fever dream, that's deliberate. The point of Yockey's surrealist story is that life isn't always neat and tidy; in fact, it can be downright scary and quite awful. Director Ron May and his impressive company of players find each and every comic moment in Elizabeth's dreadful day, and make the most of what little subtlety there is in his dramatic message, besides. This is a splendid production of a noteworthy play.
Michael Peck, who joins the fray late in Yockey's story, plays Death with a barely perceptible sneer, the subtle equivalent to a wink at the audience that says, "I'm having a blast!" So are we, watching both Peck's controlled performance and this dark, fascinating story.
THIS IS AN ABRIDGED VERSION OF THE ORIGINAL REVIEW - READ IT IN ITS ENTIRETY BELOW
Stray Cat Theatre's Pluto Is a Splendid, Surreal Production in Tempe