Review: Playing Latinx, Camden People’s Theatre

Guido Garcia Lueches’s one-person-show Playing Latinx proves an utter delight at Camden People’s Theatre

“I was white before I came here”

You know from the start that Playing Latinx is going to be something a little different. Without giving too much away, one crucial aspect of the show is very much for the bolder audience member and it is a genius way to introduce the main thrust of Guido Garcia Lueches’ one-person-show, the extent to which the Latinx community – such as it exists – is so profoundly stereotyped by Western society.

An essential, if heavy topic to be sure, but Garcia Lueches reveals himself as an utterly charming and disarming performer in a fresh and really very funny hour. Whether leading a seminar where we’re learning how to be a Latinx stereotype, or attending any number of auditions to play one of the only three types of Latinx characters allowed (lover, fighter, comic relief), we’re thoroughly engrossed.

There are moments that touch knowingly but gently on the immigrant experience, a rueful acceptance of the need to play the game in order to be a jobbing actor in London and an elegant expression of how the already soul-destroying audition process cuts deeper for some. But there’s also an extraordinary section that lets loose the rage of an unexorcised colonial legacy and the corrosiveness of the attitudes that endure. Garcia Lueches soon returns us to the warm embrace comfort of his comedy but it is a truly powerful moment.

Throughout, he blends a stand-up’s confidence with an actor’s honesty and it’s a heady and enthralling combination, especially with a banging playlist. Devised with and directed by MarianaMalena, Playing Latinx will make you think but it will also make you chuckle, a lot.  And if you’re anything like me, it will make you wish you’d put your hand up to get to find out your Latinx name too. A show to admire, a performer to look out for, highly recommended.

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
Playing Latinx is booking at Camden People’s Theatre until 2nd April and then plays Maltings Theatre 8-9th April

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