Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Superior Donuts

The Arden Theatre Company, located at 40 N. 2nd Street in Olde City, Philadelphia, is presenting a truly superior play, Superior Donuts on its Arcadia Stage through April 3. Written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright, Tracy Letts, this production grabs you before the dialogue even begins with its attention-getting sound effects and doesn’t let you go for a minute, even when you get up for a stretch at intermission. Lighting designer, Michelle Habeck’s and sound designer, Rob Kaplowiotz’s attention to detail are irrefutable.  James IJames is outstanding as college drop-out Franco Wicks. He delivers his many comedic lines with a straight face, but to call Superior Donuts a comedy would be doing it an injustice. Yes, there are many laughs and the timing of each line is very well executed, but the play is so much more than that. While the audience is being entertained by the comedic lines, they are also learning, albeit piecemeal, about the life of the shop’s owner, Arthur Przybszewski, played by Craig Spidle. Spidle does an excellent job ending  his monologues by staring out into space, illustrating with the “freeze frame” technique, that one doesn’t need a curtain to change a scene. By interspersing these monologues with the comedic dialogue of the entire cast, Letts not only enables everyone to acquire information about Arthur’s background and thus have some insight into his present day character, but also presents a work that is both as comedy and a drama in one package. David Mackay, as Max Tarasov, Arthur’s neighbor and nemesis, does a very credible job as someone who is seemingly at odds with Arthur, yet stands by him when he is needed. Each and every cast member engages the audience throughout. this top-notch play. For more information or tickets call 215-922-1122 or visit online at ardentheatre.org.

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