Regional Reviews: Albuquerque/Santa Fe
Also see Wally's review of The Real Thing
Its message of acceptance and inclusivity is delivered in visual gags and one linersthere are jokes about straights, gays, blacks, whites, Mexicans, grandmothers, and aunties. If you're easily offended ... well, you won't be. This sly, rambunctious farce gives you a chance to laugh at us all.
Abuelita Kika and her daughters Tia Mague and Tia María have raised Alicia after her drug-addicted mother was kicked out of the house. As played by Celine Rosario López, Diane Villegas, and María Teresa Herrera, this domestic triumvirate gathers in Kika's kitchen to anchor a traditional way of life. Each has a personality of her own and a different take on Alicia's (Julia Lee Romero) coming out as a lesbian.
The kitchen set is cozy and colorful, aptly designed by Valeria Rios. I found the women's conversations so natural in that setting, so familial and familiar, that I looked forward to all of their scenes together.
The Dolls, our local drag troupe, add sizzle to the stage. The moment Jaime Pardo/Patti Roxx steps out as narrator Zereda, you know you're in for a good time. As Starlinda and Starkisha, Nik Hoover/Narcissa Vanity and Kenneth Ansloan/Tequila Mockingbyrd glam it up as fairy drag mothers to Alicia on her journey out. Costumes designed by Pardo will have you wishing you had the legs to carry them off.
The aunts and abuela decide that "the gay" can be exorcised from Alicia, and set out to find a suitable curandera/o. The fairy drag mothers' scheme to fake the ritual at a compadre's house, the in-on-the-plot Joe (Andres Diaz, stage presence personified), whose conversation with Alicia's white girlfriend Cathy (Rebekah Holdridge) becomes an hilarious clash of cultures.
As always in Camino Real's annual stage play, production values are high. Two revolving towers make up most of the set to serve as kitchen, casa de curandero, ambient scenes, and a nightclub. I found them clever and convincing.
Action builds as the faux curandero tells the family that Alicia cannot be cured. The aunts' and grandmother's reactions ring true to their characters, and matters eventually are resolved after heartfelt talks are served up with plenty of comfort food.
Once again, The Dolls deliver to amp up the action. Alicia and her family end up at a drag show delightfully and professionally performed by Pardo, Ansloan, and Hoover. Their closing number together is miraculous.
Go see Aye, No!. It's the perfect summertime show with a good message and a sweet way of saying it. A big thank you from Albuquerque to producer Linda López McAlister, Camino Real Productions, for bringing so beautifully Liz Coronado Castillo's play to us.
Through August 16, 2015. Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 2 and 6 pm; NHCC, Wells Fargo Auditorium, tickets are $15-18 at nhccnm.org or at the box office, 724-4771.