Queen City Theatre Company is kicking off it's 10th season with a dark comedy by James Kirkwood, the playwright behind the Tony award-winning Broadway hit, A Chorus Line
. But P.S. Your Cat Is Dead
, a 1972 novel turned film turned play, is no PG-approved romp. In fact, it starts out with quite the argumentative doozy. The stage of Duke Energy Theater, where the play is being held through Sept. 3, has been transformed into a meager New York City apartment with holiday garnishing. The setting is New Year's Eve, where Jimmy (played by Joe Rux) has been living with Kate (Iesha Nyree). But the couple, which we quickly learn is estranged, falls short of turning the house into a home.
It's also a property nightmare, having been broken into twice and causing poor Jimmy much pain and agony after a safe containing his previous handwritten manuscript went missing. There's lots of fighting and the intensity is high as Jimmy learns that Kate plans to spend New Year's Eve with another man. In the meantime, someone else is lingering in the quarters. Another burglar? You guessed it!
Vito (played by Berry Newkirk) is caught in the crossfire, whether he likes it or not, and Jimmy plans to torment him by tying him up to the kitchen island and later removing his pants. Humiliation or curiosity? There's more than meets the eye as the two cross-examine and, later, confide in and console one another. All the while, Vito is the one informing Jimmy that his cat is dead — more bad news for Jimmy, who, by the way, has lost his girlfriend and his job on top of everything else.
But there's hope for the poor fella. As we learn through his continuous chatter with Vito, a prowling thief that tumbled through his window, Jimmy is finding more and more about himself as the night progresses. Alcohol opens him up more and his anger is lifted as the night continues. He uses Vito his own advantage and when Kate shows up again with her NYE date — a stuffy, penguin-suited man named Fred (Dan Grogan) — he plays his cards carefully by retaliating and humiliating her.
Jimmy shows some sexual interest in Vito while the two are there, but as time goes by (and at a seemingly slow rate with no intermission) and after the unwelcome visitors leave, the dynamic relationship progresses further.
Jimmy unties his captive and forgives him for the former break-ins. Vito plops off the sink fast, but not fast enough to conceal his dangling privates. Yes, there is surprise dick in this show. That's what makes it a R-rated spectacle and, no, Off Broadway's Naked Boys Singing
does not compare. We only get a glimpse at Vito's flaccid flesh and that's long enough to have us turning our heads and asking, "Did I just see that?" You did and so did Jimmy, who was probably pleasantly surprised. Not only has Vito become a companion to him despite his jester-like demeanor, he's become a much opposed romantic interest. Jimmy is an actor by trade, so his denial isn't all that shocking. There's more, but without spoiling the whole affair, I'll leave you with this: It all ends purr-fectly and without any pussies in the mix.