BWW Reviews: Cadence Theatre's DETROIT Is Fueled By Talent

Don't be hoodwinked by the welcome barbeque or neighborly communication. Brick by brick, these products of the American dream are crumbling to the ground in Cadence Theatre's production of Lisa D'Amour's Pulitzer-finalist DETROIT. Cadence's final production of the 2013 - 2014 season, this dark comedy is not afraid to prod at the verity of a deteriorating Suburbia, U.S.A.

At the start of the play, Ben (Larry Cook) and Mary (Laine Satterfield) are a seemingly happy pair of thirty-somethings. She is a paralegal and he is a recently laid-off loan officer finding his footing with a newly developed business venture. Their new neighbors, Kenny (Landon Nagel) and Sharon (Chris Lindsay-Abaire), are recovering drug and alcohol addicts working for a construction company and a call center respectively. As characters loosen, secrets surface and relationships grow sour; and the friendly barbeque among neighbors quickly devolves into chaos and revelry.

D'Amour's writing is replete with capricious and introspective prose. In a very brief but powerful appearance, speaking to historical Suburbia, Frank (Bill Patton) offers perhaps the most poignant and haunting reflection of this writing. "Such a perfect memory; sometimes I wonder if it was real at all."

Anna Johnson has directed her supremely talented ensemble without reservation, allowing the characters to spiral from reserved and cautious individuals to unrefined and honest human beings. Satterfield's Mary carries with her the sharpness of an all-American housewife-despondent toward everyone's problems but her own. Cook's Ben is full of vim and vigor. Lindsay-Abaire's Sharon is freewheeling and easily worked up. Nagel's Kenny is perfectly reckless and leads Cook's Ben into a perfect downward spiral.

Meticulously crafted, Brian Barker's set absorbs everything that is wholesome about urban living in America. With porch lighting and well-placed overheads, K. Jenna Ferree's light design adds mood; Lynn West's costumes add realism. Including a strategically placed Talking Heads song, John Dombroski's sound design is pitch perfect.

With a powerful cast that delivers on every page, DETROIT builds on the promises of the American Dream. Still, just remember to "hold tight, wait till the party's over." DETROIT runs through May 25 at the Theatre Gym on Broad Street.

Photo Credit: Jason Collins Photography

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