Through October 27
SUPERIOR DONUTS 710 Main St. Theatre/Road Less Traveled Productions
Sometimes, you think this country isn’t run on gasoline, steel or blacktop but on coffee and doughnuts.
Look carefully, as you drive down a major highway and look for the doughnut chains and maybe multiple stores of the same chains.
We’re fortunate around here to have some locally-based doughnut factories, keeping the dollars and the calories local.
Arthur Przybyszewski’s (Steve Jakiel) Superior Donuts is a shop in a section of Chicago which is gentrifying to the point there is a Starbucks across the street.
Arthur is getting old, getting depressed and getting fed up with still operating the donut store his father started and he’s showing up less and less.
“Superior Donuts” is Tracy Letts’ look at a man who has seen life turn on him and can’t accept a lifeline to help.
Arthur’s marriage has blown up and his now ex-wife has taken their daughter and headed over the hill, worn by years of marital problems.
There’s a personal lifeline being offered by Police Officer Randy Osteen (Lisa Vitrano) and Arthur just can’t bring himself to accept the offer.
He’s also being offered a business lifeline by Max Tarasov (John Profeta), the ambitious immigrant electronics and video cassette store owner, next door, who wants to buy Arthur’s store to expand his store.
Arthur doesn’t know what he would do without the shop.
Arthur decides he has to hire someone to help with the shop and a Black kid from the neighborhood, Franco Wicks (Jake Hayes), wanders in looking for work and is hired.
Franco and Arthur are partners under the skin, Arthur with all of his personal problems and Franco with the problems people don’t know about.
Franco’s backpack disgorges his Great American Novel and Arthur thinks it might be.
That’s where loan shark Luther Flynn (Dave Hayes) and his strongarm guy, Kevin Magee (Johnny Barden), show up about an accumulating debt.
Franco borrowed some money at shark interest rates and it’s accumulating because he hasn’t been paying.
Flynn and Magee find their customer and savage him in retaliation for the unpaid loan.
Arthur is faced with decisions.
Let’s leave the story here, even though Road Less Traveled did this show a few years ago on a much smaller stage.
Dyan Burlingame’s set here of Superior Donuts is larger than any of the places where I sometimes buy coffee, even where the place used to sell ice cream.
It comes equipped with real doughnuts from a distinguished local eatery.
It’s a nice and effective set.
Director Lucas Lloyd delivers a strong production making effective use of the large 710 stage, with a strong cast.
The director is working with great performances from Jakiel and Jake Hayes, Vitrano, with a borderline over-the-top Profeta and Dave Hayes as the sociopathic loan shark and Tina Rausa’s tiny but important Lady.
Letts’ script is funny and poignant, pointed and comic and why it’s worth seeing “Superior Donuts.”
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