For a show that’s not set in wartime or a musical it’s odd to find myself writing about the wonderful special effects in Woolly Mammoth‘s production of Lisa D’Amour’s Detroit. However I’d be remiss to not point out the notable use of grills that appear as if they are sizzling burgers, blood that looks real enough to cause concern, vomit that looks real enough to disgust, and a fire that’s climatic enough to make Michael Bay spin in circles. The pizzazz factor in this production of the Pulitzer Prize finalist (it lost out in 2011 to Clybourne Park, another show Woolly produced) is certainly noteworthy.
But the show is more than just a spectacle of stagecraft details. It is a smart, dark comedy that’s well written and well directed (John Vreeke, of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity fame). D’Amour explores the downfall of the idyllic neighborhoods of the 50s, closely knit communities that declined alongside the manufacturing industries that supported them. Through her prose, D’Amour skims the surface of changing suburbia but does so with a fresh story that is truly entertaining and endearing.