Examiner Review for Zoetic’s “Detroit” by Charlotte Libov

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Photo: Justin Namon

As the play “Detroit,” enters its final weekend at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, theatergoers still have the opportunity to see this work that blends comedy with drama to create an unsettling character study of four people on the edge.

The action in this play, which is Zoetic Stage‘s season opener, takes place in the backyards of two homes. They are presumably located in Detroit, but could be anywhere in a U.S. city where the sagging economy has rendered its inhabitants uncertain of their future.

It is in this environment that Ben, excellently played by Chas Mena and his wife Mary, portrayed by the always delightful Irene Adjani, welcome into their lives a mysterious new couple; the uninhibited Sharon (Betsy Graver) and the somewhat hotheaded Kenny (Matt Stabile), both superb in their roles as well.

The plot unfurls as the couples bond over their backyard barbecues. At first, Ben and Mary appear to be the stable, especially when compared with the flighty Sharon and hotheaded Kenny who met in rehab.

Or did Sharon and Kenny really meet in rehab? Inconsistencies in their stories emerge, and as the play progresses, they egg Ben and Mary into taking risks that play havoc with their sense of self, their marriage, and finally almost their lives.

The somewhat skillful plotting in his play by Lisa D’Amour keeps the audience guessing, and the suspense builds until the jarring climax. This sets the stage for the entrance of Kenny’s great uncle Frank (David Kwait) who makes a speech that ties up, perhaps a little too patly, ties up all the loose ends just as the curtain falls.

“Detroit” was a Pulitzer Prize-winning finalist but so much time is lavished on the buildup that it loses some of its fizz along the way. The true glory of Zoetic’s production comes from its ensemble of fine actors, and it is they who provide ample reason enough for theater lovers to head to the Arsht Center this weekend.

More info: Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

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