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EMAV Review: 'Detroit' offers burning angst

★☆☆☆☆ - Not Hungry

Lisa D’Amour’s dark comedy, “Detroit,” is really any city in the US during the economic downturn; suburbia falling from the grace as originally dreamed; people hiding from themselves as much as each other; self-indulgence under the guise of true caring and human kindness. And, there is the crux of the piece, the heart of this 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama.

In LVLT’s Fischer Black Box presentation, there has been no mining of the ore which can be found in D’Amour’s words. It would be easy to leave it at that, but that doesn’t serve the artists or potential patrons; that wouldn’t be doing my job.

Under the direction of Chris Davies, this production failed to touch even the lightest surfaces of the script’s themes. Words tumble out as remembered lines to be spoken, and Davies repeats the mistakes in his directing debut of “Farragut North:” moving actors down center to deliver lines. Most movement is done completely without motivation.

In the opening scene, after asking for more ice and getting it, the actress rises from her chair to deliver a monologue to the audience, then returns to her seat and never does dip a hand into the ice bucket.

Tonia McIntosh (Mary) and Bonnie Belle (Sharon) never find the truth underneath the words. Both actresses holler and huff, emoting to the light grid with overstated angst, but without a morsel of believability. Even in softer moments, nothing pulls us in to make us care.

Dave Elliot (Ben) fares a tad better, but he’s lost when it comes to stage business. Elliot flutters over a well-used BBQ as if Ben has never grilled a thing in his life, and all action ceases when he needs to deliver his lines.

As Kenny, Matthew Antonizick starts well, you can see the gears turning, but he soon falls prey when his castmates don’t deliver the goods.

Kerry Carnohan gives us repeated heavy, wistful sighs as he remembers what the neighborhood stood for in the beginning, but everything is delivered with the same tone and postures, without expression.

A complete lack of attention to detail adds to the absence of believability. Things don’t add up. Appetizers are on a plate, yet the actors mime eating them. Rather, bare fingers dip into non-existent oils and get stuffed into mouths. When Kenny is injured a flat towel is placed on his head because there isn’t anything in the ice bucket. Ben wears a medical boot after he’s cut his leg. In the final scene Mary is wrapped in a blanket, staring at her burned-out home as if it’s just happened, yet states, “We’re in a motel.”

On the plus side, Kendra Harris’s lighting design delivered on very solid ground. Especially the lighting effects at the crest of the show. The growing intensity matched the theme of the play as the house is devoured in flame, completing the metaphor. Add in the wonderful sound design of Thom Chrastka with crickets, sirens, the crackling of flames and rush of air, and the atmosphere of each scene is beautifully executed.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday - Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday through October 1

Where: Las Vegas Little Theatre, 3920 Schiff drive

Tickets: $10 - $15 (702-362-7996;

Producer: Las Vegas Little Theatre; Director: Chris Davies; Set Design: Chris Davies; Lighting Design: Kendra Harris; Sound Design: Thom Chrastka; Stage Manager: Morgan Johnson

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