The play itself is very fast-paced. I found it to be a bit too fast-paced, as some of the expository elements were glossed over or rushed through. Conversely, the plot (while moving at a break-neck pace) was almost plodding, with a lot of dialog that didn’t advance the story or adequately develop the characters. Until the entrance of the title character the story didn’t really seem to be going anywhere. As the story progressed there were a couple of character transitions that were difficult to believe. And while the play is billed as a comedy-thriller, the comedic elements dominated the show with the exception of when the playwright gets a bit preachy about the government’s hidden agenda in the international drug situation.
Even with all of the above, the show is quite entertaining. Mr. Wolfson gives all of his characters a wonderful sarcastic wit, with each on having his/her turn to throw in a punch line. Director William Roudebush has a stellar cast to tell this story, led by Tom Teti as the title character. Mr. Teti commands the stage from his first entrance throughout the show. And although I felt at times his character became too familiar with the other characters, his charisma and authority were palpable. Producing Artistic Director of the theatre Penelope Reed gives a brassy performance as Grace, the owner of the motel, Jim Sorensen’s character (Carter) is all anger and frustration. Joyce (Sara Painter) is the “mysterious” female who has a secret. Her performance is very strong overall, but there were some shifts in her character that were a bit rushed. Carl Smith is Tony, a young man who has come north to make some money for his father’s birthday present. His performance is very solid. Veteran actor Louis Lippa portrays a doctor from San Francisco. His character is all nerves and panic and he plays it very well. The narcotics agent Marco (Joe Guzman) is hard-nosed and manipulative. Mr. Guzman plays it straight, with a lot of volume and an undercurrent of evil. Dave Polgar portrays a police agent and also herds BJ (Jonas Wanner), a VERY friendly purebred bloodhound, around the stage.
The excitement of a new play is that it will continue to evolve as the characters develop themselves. Each of these very talented performers has created these characters and they will grow as the show continues its run. THE DON is well worth going to see, and perhaps see more than once to watch the growth of the individuals and the overall performance.
by John Wolfson
Directed by William Roudebush
May 20 – June 5, 2010
64 Rose Valley Road
Rose Valley, PA