John Flores and Lauren LeBlanc in Second Though Theatre’s ‘Wink.’ (Photo by Evan Michael Woods)

After being skinned and murdered, Sofie’s pet cat Wink comes back to claim one of its lives. Wink has vengeance in mind with Gregor, Sofie’s husband, as its target for skinning him. This is the premise of queer playwright Jen Silverman’s play Wink which Second Thought Theatre opened last Friday.

But the dark, comic fable wasn’t about the cat as much as it was about transformation.

Wink was a play that was many things: a drama, a comedy, far-fetched, intimate, disturbing. Silverman’s story mixed all these elements into a compelling story where Wink, played by Garret Storms, walked and talked and interacted with the characters and in this world onstage, it made sense. Director Jenna Burnett helmed a show that breathed with a patient storytelling while still keeping it around 90-ish minutes with no intermission.

RELATED: Pussy Riot: Actor Garret Storms gets his feline on in Second Thought’s Wink

As the discordant married couple, Lauren LeBlanc and Omar Padilla were strongly suited for their roles as Sofie and Gregor. LeBlanc began as a frustrated and agitated character with much angst over her missing cat. Padilla’s Gregor wasn’t exactly a doting husband, but never quite the jerk either — minus the whole skinning of her cat part. But the two actors crafted a chemistry that showed us this married couple that had been reduced to a habit. Their underlying tension, however, was palpable.

Sofie found a questionable strength by way an outrageous story she concocted. LeBlanc’s performance grew from meek to empowered despite the confounding arc Silverman gave Sofie.

Padilla had the tricky job with Gregor, a character who felt intentionally one-note until his whole fucked-uppery came into light. The things this guy gets aroused by! Padilla was always magnetic beginning with a sitcom-dad delivery. As Gregor went into freakish dark places, the actor played it with a cool head that made deeply ominous.

Both Sofie and Gregor separately see their therapist Dr. Frans played by scratch that fully embodied by John Flores. Dr. Frans initially came off as a quirky, sweater-vested doc who perpetually scribbled notes but barely looked at his patients as he advised them to push down their feelings with severe intensity. Flores delivered a character who was troubled and sensitive but painted Dr. Frans’ life and flaws so completely, we knew exactly who he wa.

Storms’ approach to Wink was a beguiling one. He slinked around the stage and perched atop furniture with ease all playing the cat with a steady, quiet cool. In the play, Wink has more of a relationship with Frans and each changes the other. This plays out in myriad ways first, as a curious cat and a confused human and then into a sort of homoerotic, yet tender love affair. Wink, nor Storms, was never sexy per se, but the actor’s graceful feline exuded a powerful sensuality. The intimacy between Flores and Storms was almost nail-biting thanks to Intimacy Choreographer Sasha Maya Ada’s delicate handling of the two.

Justin Locklear’s set had many duties as the couple’s home, Frans’ office and even a rooftop perch and it all worked so cleverly. Niels Winter’s lights particularly the frame of light around the set was evocative and perfectly dramatic.

Wink was a complex piece, but don’t let that get in the way of enjoying the humor in this dark comedy. The drama was never far, but Silverman’s wit delivered by this gifted cast was for real, the cat’s meow (ok, you knew that was coming).

The show runs through July 13.

–Rich Lopez