Review: Nekkid With the Cats: A Wisepecker Conundrum | Hip Pocket Theatre | Silver Creek Amphitheatre

It's All About Meow

At Hip Pocket Theatre, Nekkid with the Cats is a purr-fectly entertaining evening of theater.

published Thursday, August 21, 2014

Photo: Shannon Atkinson
The kitties in Nekkid with the Cats, a Wisepecker Conundrum at Hip Pocket Theatre

Fort Worth — Johnny Simons must have had a weird experience with a zumba class, because in his new play Nekkid With the Cats, A Wisepecker Conundrum at Hip Pocket Theatre he sends his protagonists into an unsettlingly bestial adult world of aerobic dance and feline ferocity.

Tom Wisepecker (Gary Payne) is fed up with his wife, Gayle Wisepecker (Kristi Ramos Toler). Among other complaints, his focus falls on his wife’s penchant for dancing naked with cats. Given that the Ensemble opens the show wielding lifelike cat puppets (designed by Lake Simons), one might assume that Gayle literally takes her clothes off and writhes around a bunch of kitty cats. However, when Tom drives Gayle, her sister Lillian Wrathpath (Salone Sasser) and their mother Mattie Raye Wrathpath (Louann Gary) to zumba class, the cats are revealed to be the Ensemble as the members of the class, led by the seductive Footsie Evers (Carmen Scott). Tom stumbles into the class and soon finds himself “nekkid with the cats” as it were.

Any semblance of a natural narrative arc starts to dissolve from there. Michael Joe Goggans has a short part as a lothario marriage counselor named Dr. Wolfgang Weir, but his reason for being there is flimsy, despite being the funniest part of the show.

However, narrative is relative, especially in Johnny Simons’ world. What matters is the content, and that exceeds expectation, though in an interesting way. One of the defining qualities of Simons’ and Hip Pocket’s work is his full embrace of fantastical storytelling. His work is often well beyond the realms of reality, but it thrives because it comes by its quirk genuinely. 

This show features a more adult theme in general, which itself is a minor step off HPT’s typically well worn path of family-friendly fair, but along with the mature content, the humor has also matured, in a way.

There is more self-referential and fourth wall-breaking humor than a typical Hip Pocket show. Not to any detriment. It’s pulled off quite well. But, it is different. And it creates an odd internal feeling. The show is one of the best Hip Pocket has put on recently, but there’s at least a small sliver of longing for the more goofy fun that normally populates their shows. A minor quibble for an otherwise excellent performance.

The performances are the glue to this crazy story. Payne and Toler could easily have been married for 30 years given their chemistry. The exasperated spouses trope is played out, but they manage to breath a little humor into it. Louann Gary has a great time. Her matriarchal tyrant is gleefully caustic and over-the-top. She even gets a few pratfalls, which she executes with all the efficiency of Chevy Chase in his prime.

Scott is downright sultry, and her exaggerated Latino accent makes her like a dominatrix cartoon version of Sofia Vergara. Managing a balance between sexy and funny ain’t easy, but she sure makes it look like it is.

Finding balance is never assured in this offbeat comedy. Whether in the narrative or the struggles of the characters to stay clothed and dander free, Nekkid With the Cats is just about the most hilarious exploration of zumba culture ever staged. Just watch out for claws. Thanks For Reading

Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
It's All About Meow
At Hip Pocket Theatre, Nekkid with the Cats is a purr-fectly entertaining evening of theater.
by Kris Noteboom

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :