Review: ‘Bad Hombres/Good Wives’ is an inspired blast of renegade humor at San Diego Rep
During the danger of sounding flip — which wouldn’t do justice to a winningly bonkers comedy that takes its female-empowerment themes seriously — “Bad Hombres/Good Wives” might just motivate both a hashtag and a theatrical genre: #MeTuba.
Into the San Diego Rep world premiere of Herbert Sigьenza’s Moliиre-goes-modern mashup, the blurts of a sousaphone act as both musical accompaniment and sly comic commentary regarding the deliriously antic action.
Additionally the guy whom plays it while he roves across the stage — the skilled tubaist Adrian Kuicho Rodriguez — becomes something similar to a wordlessly wry Greek chorus (in the event that ancient Greeks had gotten around to developing marching bands).
It’s the type of anything-goes gambit that frequently animates performs by Sigьenza, the Rep resident playwright (and co-founder associated with the pioneering Chicano troupe tradition Clash) whom really loves placing classics by way of a pop-culture Mixmaster.
However with “Bad Hombres” — built around Moliиre’s “School for Wives,” about a chauvinistic goat that is old to groom the most wonderful, subservient spouse — the playwright has brought their singularly eccentric sensibilities to fresh creative levels.
So when directed with a yen when it comes to kinetic by Rep creative chief Sam Woodhouse, the play has its own females not only switching the tables but flipping them together with some hapless men’s minds, amid the ultra-macho milieu of Mexican drug cartels during the early 1990s.
Sigьenza’s story ( that he’s referred to as being #MeToo-inspired) keeps the bare bones of Moliиre’s satire, regardless if the environment is just a little various: It offers a brutal and arrogant medication lord known as Don Ernesto (played by the consummate pro John Padilla) getting set to marry young Eva (a sharp and deceptively delicate Yvette Angulo), that has been sequestered in a convent for decades.
As Ernesto places it: “Men’s matches are created to purchase. You will want to a spouse?”
A dapper and erudite professor to impress Eva, Ernesto is masquerading as an alter ego. The pending wedding, however, coincides using the loss of Ernesto’s archrival, while the arrival of their grieving son, Don Mario (a really funny and athletic Jose Balistrieri, lending matinee-idol design).
Mario and Eva immediately fall in love; Mario confesses all to Ernesto, perhaps maybe not realizing whom he could be; a few cartel goons (enjoyed amusing cluelessness by Daniel Ramos III and Salomуn Maya) attempted to terminate Mario; and all sorts of forms of mistaken-identity mayhem ensues, in a nod to some other big impact, William Shakespeare. (Or “Guillermo,” as the very Eva that is literary prefers call him.)
A couple of other figures loom big, too. Sigьenza pours himself right into a dress that is close-fitting have fun with the witty housekeeper, Armida, who Ernesto hired away from shame after blowing up her old boss’s vehicle with Armida in it. Siguenza’s portrayal that is drydrag and all sorts of) creates a satisfying contrast to all or any the madness swirling around Armida.
Sigьenza’s Culture Clash compatriot Ric Salinas additionally earns laughs because the comically fawning priest, Father Alberto. (No fault of their many homosexual humor surrounding the type can feel a small retro.)
Then there’s Lucha Grande — a beloved singer of fiercely maudlin canciуnes, in addition to whip-cracking widow of Ernesto’s dead rival. She’s a black colored patch on the attention and an enormous chip on her behalf neck within the male malfeasance she’s seen, in addition to matchless Roxane Carrasco plays her in positively style that is show-stopping.
She’s served well by music through the composer that is accomplished of this ensemble Nortec Collective. And Sean Fanning’s resourceful set demonstrates as much as the regular location changes, while Carmen Amon’s memorably over-the-top costumes, Chris Rynne’s illumination, Matt Lescault-Wood’s noise and Samantha Rojales’ projections are likewise first-rate.
That knows exactly what Moliйre will make of most this, however in the character of Siguenza’s bilingual treasure of a play that is new I’m going to borrow a term of approval from Lucha Grande: Orale!
‘Bad Hombres/Good Spouses’
When: 7 p.m. Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. (Some exceptions; seek the advice of theater.) Through Oct. mail order bride 27.
Where: San Diego Rep’s Lyceum Stage, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown.