‘Superior Donuts’: A superior evening at the theatre

Arthur (Howard Swain) and Franco (Lance Gardner) in 'Superior

Tracy Letts is definitely in the building. The prolific
Tony/Pulitzer Prize playwright (for August: Osage County) offers
another beautiful piece of fine theatre that covers the audience
like an intricate spider web
– a simple but interesting story about people who face their
lives in different ways.
Tracy Letts is definitely in the building. The prolific Tony/Pulitzer Prize playwright (for August: Osage County) offers another beautiful piece of fine theatre that covers the audience like an intricate spider web – a simple but interesting story about people who face their lives in different ways. Some do it with gusto and determination, some with acceptance and some with a gentle hopelessness that we watch grow into a hesitant glow of love and sacrifice with the help of those that care. Letts words shoot from the hip in rapid fire secession with intellectual dark flashes mixed with bittersweet humor.

The story tells of Arthur (a superb Howard Swain), an intelligent aging, lost, laid back hippie type who owns a rundown decrepit donut shop (inherited years ago from his father) in the uptown district of Chicago. Business is waning; his life seems like a boring dead end. His regulars and friends benefit from his generous nature. An energetic, bright, young African-American, Franco (an inspired Lance Gardner), applies for employment advertised in the shop’s window. He bombards his way into the job and sets the tone to get Arthur out of his funk. Other subplots fit into the story like an interesting jigsaw puzzle that brings the two into a close relationship of friendship, love and respect. Their timing and delivery of Letts words at times sound like delightful poetry. A stellar supporting cast completes this strong offering.

Director Leslie Martinson deftly moves her players in the right direction to keep the plot flowing at just the right tempo.

Scenic designer Tom Langguth has created an old fashioned, no frills diner effect that gives the feel of the downtrodden essence of the area.

For an evening of splendidly written fine drama, humor and performances that won’t soon be forgotten, a visit to Mountain View will be well worth the trip.

***

‘Superior Donuts’

Where: Mountain View Center For The Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View

Through Oct. 31

Tickets: $27-$42-$67 (students $19)

Details: (650) 463-1960 or visit www.theatreworks.org

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