"Superior Donuts" (Mary Arrchie): Baked Goodness with a little Bite

"Superior Donuts" (Mary Arrchie):  Baked Goodness with a little Bite

#36.  I like to hang with young people.  They can drive me crazy with their unearned arrogance.  But they also can inspire me with their idealism. As I get older, my optimism continually gets attacked by my growing cynicism. The challenge is not to go with the familiar and comfortable but to embrace the new adventure.  And young people are the catalysts to see life from a fresh perspective.

Mary Arrchie Theatre presents SUPERIOR DONUTS.  Arthur inherited the family doughnut store.  For sixty years, the Przybyszewskis have made doughnuts in Uptown.  Although his dessert cake business is pretty stagnant, Arthur refuses to sell.  He likes things the way they are.  Franco is an aspiring writer, new father and college drop-out.  He sees the potential in the business and in Arthur.  He aggressively tries to changes things up.  SUPERIOR DONUTS is what we crave, home baked goodness with a little bite.

Playwright Tracy Letts connects two unlikely people in a feel good story.  Letts uses witty dialogue and eccentric characters to convey the friendship tale.  I’m a huge fan of Tracy Letts as a writer and an actor.  And I’d have to say this story is surprisingly sentimental for a man I believe to have a wicked sense of humor.  Under the direction of Matt Miller, the talented ensemble transport us easily to the Uptown neighborhood.  Scenic Designer Jenniffer Thusing recreates a dingy joint under the Red Line.  It has all the vintage ambiance that ensures regulars frequent it and new people scurry past.  Richard Cotovsky (Arthur) is the fixture behind the counter.  Cotovsky is an overage stoner.  He transforms from curmudgeon to friend with an awkward but endearing awakening.  The budding relationship between him and Preston Tate, Jr. (Franco) charms like the old guy and kid in the movie UP.  Tate is a wonderfully energetic chatterbox.  His earnest enthusiasm is adorable. The surprising bromance is subtle and satisfying.  Two other standouts in the solid cast are the two ladies looking all too authentic in their roles.  I’d swear I’ve gotten a ticket from Millie Hurley (cop) and given money to Susan Monts-Bologna (homeless woman)

Miller mostly directs this show with a natural cadence.  The last few scenes get a little sluggish.  During the scene transition, the hesitant black-out makes people clap assuming its over.  It’s a clunky finish to otherwise SUPERIOR DONUTS.   

Running Time:  Two hours and thirty minutes includes an intermission

At Angel Island, 735 W. Sheridan

Written by Tracy Letts

Directed by Matt Miller

Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm

Sundays at 3pm

Thru March 25th

Buy Tickets at www.maryarrchie.com

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