Tracy Letts successfully delivers a light play in “Superior Donuts,” evoking the audience’s sympathy while providing laughs.
Though the plot does lack some substance, the setting and dialog make up for the deficiency. The play’s ambiance is reminiscent of a 70’s or 80’s sitcom, like “The Cosby Show,” filled with social commentary and witty remarks. Arthur Prsybyszewski (Avi Hoffman) runs his family’s donut shop, Superior Donuts. Dressed in tie-dye T-shirts with his hair in a shabby ponytail, Prsybyszewski does not seem to care for anything. His shop is the perfect example of his negligence with only the occasional neighbor or bag lady dropping by for coffee. He lives stuck in the past with a cynical outlook on the present and future.
Then there is Franco Wicks (Marckenson Charles), an ambitious college dropout looking to earn some money. Arthur hires him despite their differences (which includes more than just their skin color). As opposed to Prsybyszewski’s cynicism, Wicks disregards the setbacks in life and instead relies on hope. Their differences ultimately help form a bond that impacts both characters. Their relationship is not only relatable, but also leaves the audience smiling.
Hoffman’s performance as a 60 year-old hippie is exceptional as is Chaz Mena’s portrayal of Max Tarasov, the rowdy Russian who owns the DVD store neighboring Superior Donuts. Although all the cast members should be applauded for their talent, perhaps the focus should be on Charles. The talented actor is a graduate of New World School of the Arts. His love for acting is evident through his performance. Charles’ delivery, charm, and ability to create a genuine character make it clear to the audience that we will be seeing a lot more of him in the future.
Nicky Diaz may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where: GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables
When: 8 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday
Theatrical Run: Through April 10
Ticket price: $15 for students
For more information, visit gablestage.org or call 305-445-1119.