The protagonist of Tracy Lett’s Superior Donuts, Arthur Przybyszewski, believes that dreaming is dangerous. Director Mark Cuddy’s dream of a brilliant rendering of this charming, hilarious play is realized nightly at Geva Theatre.
After Arthur (Skip Greer) discovers his donut shop–which his been in his family for several generations–has been vandalized, he hires college dropout Franco Wicks (James Holloway). Franco and Arthur intially bond over a mutual love of great writers only to begin fighting as Franco attempts to improve Arthur’s rundown shop.
Greer’s performance as Arthur is outstanding, and his relationship with Holloway carried a natural affability. Together, their comedic timing worked perfectly. Through this and their wonderful chemistry, the story is enveloping.
Mary Jo Mecca worked up a smooth Chicago accent for her role as Officer Randy Osteen, Arthur’s love interest. Ron Scott portrayed her partner in anti-crime, Officer James Bailey, and brought in great tension-breaking moments with his character’s love of Star Trek. Daryll Heysham performed my favorite role–that of Russian immigrant Max Tarasov, who desperately wants Arthur to sell the donut shop so he can expand his video rental business. Heysham makes crotchety endearing.
Per usual, Geva pulled out all the stops on costuming and set design. Jack Magaw’s donut shop immediately signified the neighborhood and the naturalistic style of the play. The actors had plenty of great (and edible) props to work with but still had room to move around, which proved essential during the play’s climax. Christina Selian’s costume design represented the different ideologies of the character’s with Arthur as a perfect washed-up hippie. And, as someone whose father loved the Trek and therefore had to endure many Sunday afternoons with the television tuned to Captain Kirk’s adventures, Officer Bailey’s Star Trek costume could have been worn on the Enterprise.
If you love great theatre, endearing stories, or just a good laugh, Superior Donuts is the perfect way to spend a Saturday evening.