Review "Detroit": Reverse Intervention is One Riotous Party!

Steppenwolf Theatre presents


At 1650 N. Halsted
Written by Lisa D’Amour
Directed by Austin Pendleton
Buy Tickets
Thru November 7th
Running time:  One hour and forty minutes with no intermission

Reviewed by Katy Walsh

‘Does anybody borrow a cup of sugar anymore?’  A new play by Lisa D’Amour redefines ‘being neighborly’ for the modern era.  Steppenwolf Theatre presents DETROIT.   Kenny and Sharon moved in next door.  Ben and Mary invite them for dinner.  Over the next few weeks and several shared meals, the couples bond.  Initial disclosing of warts and allergies broaden into revealing secrets and inhibitions.  The free-spirited Kenny and Sharon model a non-suburban style that Ben and Mary envy.  How to let go of unemployment stress, spousal disappointment, the routine?  Cue the booze!  DETROIT is a reverse intervention that is one riotous party!


Hosting the bash is comedy sitcom legend, Laurie Metcalf (Mary).  Metcalf’s presence guarantees laughter.   Whether she is putting up an umbrella or describing underwear drying on a rock, Metcalf’s deadpan delivery is killer funny!  Even during a scene transition, Metcalf dances with a stagehand.   Looks unrehearsed and adds to the fun antics.  Kate Arrington (Sharon) is the party guest that drinks too much and cries.  Arrington plays a kooky, soul-searching, train wreck.  Arrington delivers ‘are you a construction worker building a house or a twig in the stream?’ with a stoner vibe.  Later, she is hilariously angry at a dog owner accusation.  Kevin Anderson (Kenny) is the guy at the party that tells grandiose stories.   Anderson punctuates the humor with forceful bursts of ‘you to good for yellow mustard?’  Ian Barford (Ben) is the quiet guy that turns wild when mixed with alcohol.   Austin Pendleton directs a high energy romp that goes past the legal limit with full proof humor.   An end party scene gets so out of control, I’m left exhausted from laughing and I’m also wondering where the cast is partying after the show.


Lisa D’Amour wrote a light and frothy play about life in the suburbs on the rocks.  It’s fun!  It tastes great, less filling!  Playful!  The dialogue is clever.  The characters are relatable.  The neighbors aren’t yours.    What better way to escape the mundane than a trip to DETROIT without leaving Chicago?  All the laughter of partying your ass off without the hangover!

Waiting for his Steppenwolf audition, Joshua Volkers sums up the show with “What’s the point?”

Production photos courtesy of Michael Brosilow.

Before a Saturday matinee, there are limited options for a late lunch.  We default to Tilly’s, 1952 N. Halsted.  Hoping to catch the end of the Michigan game, we perch at the bar in front of the television.  The bartender is open to switching channels over to the game.  He remotes to the Big Ten network.  Incomplete play! It’s not being broadcast. The Illinois game is on.  Interception!  We order anyway.  I go with the turkey wrap with chipotle mayonnaise… tasty!  It’s served with sweet potato chips… icky… to me!  Josh orders the chicken breast stuffed with herbed goat cheese.  It’s  delicious!  Saturday afternoons offer up $2 mimosas for Josh.  Since we’re splitting the bill, I go with full-priced Malbec.  Being neighborly, the bartender alerts us to Blue’s win over Massachusetts.    We toast a Michigan victory and head to DETROIT

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