Everything Is Super Great
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Theater review by Raven Snook
Four lonely souls are paralyzed by loss in Stephen Brown's bittersweet dramedy Everything Is Super Great. Although his older brother went missing months ago, 19-year-old computer wiz Tommy (Will Sarratt, high-strung and sympathetic) still sends him video messages—in between fighting with his anxious mom, Anne (a heartbreaking Marcia DeBonis), and flirting unsuccessfully with his Starbucks coworker Alice (Lisa Jill Anderson, deliciously deadpan). A morbid pixie dream girl, Alice has left college to take care of her mother, who has Alzheimer's disease and keeps wandering off. Even Tommy's not-quite-legitimate therapist, Dave (Xavier Rodney), is aching from abandonment.
Although Brian Dudkiewicz's clever, symbol-laden set is highly theatrical, this slice-of-life one-act often feels like an indie movie come to life. Under Sarah Norris’s tender direction, the inaction unfolds in lovingly rendered, beautifully acted, mostly two-person scenes that demand you lean in as these ordinary folks try awkwardly to connect during the holidays. Reality quashed their dreams long ago; all they want for Christmas is some comfort and, if they're lucky, a little forward momentum.
From its ironic title down to its quirky details—like how Anne gives everyone Pop-Tarts, or how Tommy almost burned down an Applebee's—Everything Is Super Great tempers its dark humor with hope and empathy. And it never condescends to its characters: Trapped in a suburban wasteland of chain stores and compromises, these people may not be destined for glory, but they're worthy of our attention and our tears.
59E59 Theaters (Off-Off Broadway). By Stephen Brown. Directed by Sarah Norris. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 35mins. No intermission.