Anoinette Holman and Susan Perrin-Sallak in DoubtThe District Theatre's Doubt may be the most exceptionally performed, strongly directed production I've yet seen in the Quad Cities. Saturday night's flawless performance left me in awe, particularly for the production's perfect casting, and for how well director James Fairchild highlights playwright John Patrick Shanley's humor.

Kimberly Furness[Author's note: The following was written for TheCurtainbox.com, the Web site for our area's Curtainbox Theatre Company, of which I've been a proud member for nearly a year.]

 

Recently, Curtainbox Theatre Company founder Kim Furness and I sat down over a glass of wine - all right, maybe a couple of glasses - to celebrate her company's 10-year anniversary. She had recently taken over the directing position for the Curtainbox's latest production, Speed-the-Plow (in the wake of original helmer Philip W. McKinley's recruitment as new director of Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), and during our conversation, was happy to share her thoughts on the company's history. (The David Mamet comedy Speed-the-Plow - featuring Erin Churchill, Dan Hernandez, and myself - runs at the Village of East Davenport's Village Theatre from April 10 through 23, with preview performances April 8 & 9.)

At heart, the 1990 tragicomedy The Big Funk is less a theatrical production than a wrestling match, one between its playwright, John Patrick Shanley, and ... John Patrick Shanley.

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristin Stewart in AdventurelandADVENTURELAND

My first awareness of writer/director Greg Mottola's Adventureland came at Christmastime, when some family members and I saw a trailer for the comedy before, of all things, a screening of Doubt. The movie's my-summer-at-an-amusement-park setup looked kind of promising, but given the preview's one-liners and visual gags, the supporting cast (Bill Hader, Ryan Reynolds, Kristen Wiig), and Mottola's credit as the director of Superbad, it seemed like an incredibly inappropriate teaser to run before John Patrick Shanley's nonsecular drama. When the trailer ended, my brother and I shared an incredulous look and a chuckle at the apparent incongruity. "Know your audience," he said with a laugh.

Jessica Stratton, Melissa McBain, and Jeremy Mahr in DoubtThere's a special thrill you get from a stage work that seems not just beautifully, but perfectly cast, and following the curtain call for the Green Room's Friday-evening presentation of Doubt: A Parable - currently playing at the Harrison Hilltop Theatre - that thrill stuck with me for the rest of the night, and into the next day.

This past Friday, larger movie markets saw the debuts of John Patrick Shanley's Doubt, Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino, and Steven Soderbergh's Argentinia epic Che.

Our market, meanwhile, only got The Day the Earth Stood Still, Nothing Like the Holidays, and Delgo.

Sigh. Let's dive in, then.