In the chance of sounding flip — which wouldn’t do justice to a winningly bonkers comedy that took 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 the sousaphone act as both musical accompaniment and sly comic commentary from the deliriously antic action.
While the man who plays it while he roves round the stage — the tubaist that is talented Kuicho Rodriguez — becomes something similar to a wordlessly wry Greek chorus (in the event that ancient Greeks had gotten around to forming marching bands).
It’s the type of anything-goes gambit that frequently animates performs by Sigьenza, the Rep resident playwright (and co-founder of this pioneering Chicano troupe Culture Clash) whom really loves placing classics through a pop-culture Mixmaster.
But with “Bad Hombres” — built around Moliиre’s “School for Wives,” about a chauvinistic goat that is old to groom the most perfect, subservient wife — the playwright has brought their where to find ukrainian women singularly eccentric sensibilities to fresh creative levels.
So that as directed with a yen when it comes to kinetic by Rep creative chief Sam Woodhouse, the play has its own ladies not only switching the tables but flipping them in addition to some hapless men’s minds, amid the ultra-macho milieu of Mexican drug cartels within the early 1990s.
Sigьenza’s story ( which he’s got referred to as being #MeToo-inspired) keeps the bare bones of Moliиre’s satire, even when the environment is only a little different: It offers a brutal and arrogant medication lord called 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 sets it: “Men’s matches are created to order. Have you thought to a spouse?”
To impress Eva, Ernesto is masquerading being an alter ego — a dapper and erudite teacher. The pending wedding, however, coincides using the loss of Ernesto’s archrival, in addition to arrival of their grieving son, Don Mario (a tremendously funny and athletic Jose Balistrieri, lending matinee-idol design).
Mario and Eva immediately fall in love; Mario confesses all to Ernesto, maybe perhaps not realizing whom he could be; a few cartel goons (enjoyed amusing cluelessness by Daniel Ramos III and Salomуn Maya) attempt 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 literary Eva would rather phone him.)
A couple of other figures loom big, too. Sigьenza pours himself in to a close-fitting gown to have fun with the witty housekeeper, Armida, who Ernesto hired away from shame after blowing up her old boss’s automobile with Armida inside it. Siguenza’s dry depiction (drag and all sorts of) creates a satisfying contrast to any or all the madness swirling around Armida.
Sigьenza’s Culture Clash compatriot Ric Salinas additionally earns laughs since the comically fawning priest, Father Alberto. (No fault of their however some homosexual humor surrounding the type can feel a little retro.)
Then there’s Lucha Grande — a beloved singer of fiercely maudlin canciуnes, while the whip-cracking widow of Ernesto’s rival that is dead. She’s got a black colored area on the attention and a big chip on the neck within the male malfeasance she’s seen, additionally the matchless Roxane Carrasco plays her in absolutely style that is show-stopping.
She’s served well by music through the accomplished composer Bostich associated with the ensemble Nortec Collective. And Sean Fanning’s set that is resourceful as much as the frequent 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 exactly what Moliйre will make of all of the this, however in the nature of Siguenza’s bilingual treasure of the new play, I’m going to borrow a phrase of approval from Lucha Grande: Orale!
‘Bad Hombres/Good Spouses’
Whenever: 7 p.m. Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. (Some exceptions; seek advice from theater.) Through Oct. 27.
Where: San Diego Rep’s Lyceum Stage, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown.