Chicago Theatre Review
Men on the Verge of His-Panic Breakdown – Pride Films & Plays
The timeliness of this 75 minute collection of monologues, now playing at Apollo Studio Theater, is sprinkled throughout the play. In this 20th anniversary production by Guillermo Reyes, most of the characters are clearly relevant. This character driven piece, covers many Latino immigrant characters across a spectrum of gender exploration.
The opening and closing character of Federico is particularly poignant during this day and age. The passion to be a part of a new country, a new life, a new beginning draws the audience to him.
The characters come fast and furious, each one telling a unique immigrant story or viewpoint. These stories include the “kept” boy, the actor with the mistaken identity, and the Cuban shop owner. The ties back their heritage and why they are in America are sometimes sad, sometimes funny; but each one makes you think.
The only monologue that seemed like it was still 1994, was the dying drag queen. While I loved the costume (Uriel Gomez)the character did not seem contemporary. I do understand it’s relevance in the piece, but it seemed out of place. The play seemed more about triumphs, and not tragedy.
One thing thing that never seemed out of place was Nelson Rodriguez. His portrayal of all the characters in this enjoyable show are great. He changes characters with great ease. I enjoyed watching a character’s monologue; and then realizing after it was done that it was Mr. Rodriguez. He loses himself in each character. This actor is enjoyable to watch with sadness and laughter explored and delivered.
The direction (Sandra Marquez) was solid. No surprises. The set (Patrick Iven) helped to underscore the times and places well.
This show is enjoyable and a thought provoking journey. Nelson Rodriguez is easy to watch and entertaining from start to finish.
Reviewed by Lazlo Collins
Men on the Verge of His-Panic Breakdown plays through Sunday, July 26. Tickets can be purchased by going to 773-935-6100 or going to www.ticketmaster.com
Additional information about this and other area productions can be found by visitingwww.theatreinchicago.com.