The GableStage production also succeeds. Joseph Adler directs with a flair for comedy both subtle and broad. (We first see Lucille, for example, spread out on her bed, wearing her wedding dress and munching on that old phallic standby, a banana.) He seemingly allows his actors to use their own creative resources, with great results in the case of Kwiat and Kremen, not to mention the likable Drew Sattee, who plays Arthur. For reasons unknown, though, he allows the talented David Cirone, who plays Howard, to sport a kind of British accent that's never explained. (The fifth member of the cast, Marcy Ruderhausen, plays Howard's wife Ellie as the small role it is.)
Kudos to set designer Lyle Baskin, who has given Howard's home, Lucille's apartment, and Dr. Block's office each a wacky, unhinged feel by suggesting walls that don't meet at right angles. These walls are actually scrims that, with help from lighting designer Jeff Quinn, give way to a backdrop depicting the Manhattan skyline. Quinn's purple- and green-lighting environments for the different scenes also push all the right buttons. Daniela Schwimmer's costumes are just right.
With all this talent going for it, the GableStage has turned in a great first season under artistic director Adler. Here's hoping that future seasons will serve up works that maintain these excellent production values while pushing the dramatic envelope a little more. I like to leave the theater in the thrall of challenging new works that aren't going to evaporate before I walk to my car. Rather than just admire the stagecraft, I want to feel more emotionally engaged. I think Dr. Block would approve.
Written by John Patrick Shanley. Directed by Joseph Adler. With Marcy Ruderhausen, David Cirone, Drew Sattee, David Kwiat, and Sharon Kremen. Through July 18. GableStage at the Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Ave, Coral Gables; 305-445-1119.