During the threat of sounding that is flip wouldn’t do justice to a winningly bonkers comedy which takes its female-empowerment themes seriously — “Bad Hombres/Good Wives” may just encourage both a hashtag and a theatrical genre: #MeTuba.
The blurts of a sousaphone serve as both musical accompaniment and sly comic commentary on the deliriously antic action in the San Diego Rep world premiere of Herbert Sigьenza’s Moliиre-goes-modern mashup.
And also the man whom plays it as he roves round the stage — the tubaist that is talented Kuicho Rodriguez — becomes something such as a wordlessly wry Greek chorus (in the event that ancient Greeks had gotten around to developing marching bands).
The Rep resident playwright (and co-founder of the pioneering Chicano troupe Culture Clash) who loves putting classics through a pop-culture Mixmaster it’s the kind of anything-goes gambit that often animates plays by Sigьenza.
However with “Bad Hombres” — built around Moliиre’s “School for Wives,” about a chauvinistic goat that is old to groom an ideal, subservient spouse — the playwright has had his singularly eccentric sensibilities to ukrainian dating in usa fresh artistic heights.
So when directed with a yen for the kinetic by Rep creative chief Sam Woodhouse, the play has its females not merely switching the tables but flipping them in addition to some hapless men’s minds, amid the ultra-macho milieu of Mexican medication cartels during the early 1990s.
Sigьenza’s story ( which he’s referred to as being #MeToo-inspired) keeps the bare bones of Moliиre’s satire, no matter if the setting is just a little various: 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 many years.
As Ernesto sets it: “Men’s matches are created to purchase. Why don’t you a spouse?”
A dapper and erudite professor to impress Eva, Ernesto is masquerading as an alter ego. The pending wedding, however, coincides with all the loss of Ernesto’s archrival, and also the 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 maybe not realizing who he’s; a few cartel goons (enjoyed amusing cluelessness by Daniel Ramos III and Salomуn Maya) attempted to terminate Mario; and all forms of mistaken-identity mayhem ensues, in a nod to a different big impact, William Shakespeare. (Or “Guillermo,” as the very literary Eva prefers to call him.)
A couple of other figures loom big, too. Sigьenza pours himself right into 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 portrayal that is drydrag and all sorts of) produces a satisfying contrast to all or any the madness swirling around Armida.
Sigьenza’s Culture Clash compatriot Ric Salinas also earns laughs since the comically fawning priest, Father Alberto. (No fault of his many gay humor surrounding the smoothness can feel a little retro.)
After which there’s Lucha Grande — a beloved singer of fiercely maudlin canciуnes, in addition to whip-cracking widow of Ernesto’s rival that is dead. She’s a black colored spot on her attention and a large chip on her behalf neck on the male malfeasance she’s seen, plus the matchless Roxane Carrasco plays her in positively show-stopping design.
She’s served well by music through the accomplished composer Bostich for the ensemble Nortec Collective. And Sean Fanning’s resourceful set shows 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 exactly what Moliйre will make of all of the this, however in the nature of Siguenza’s bilingual treasure of a brand new play, I’m going to borrow a term 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; talk to theater.) Through Oct. 27.
Where: San Diego Rep’s Lyceum Stage, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown.