“The Adventures of Don Chipotle” has turned out to be a very difficult play for me to write about. For some reason, the production started 20 minutes late – unforgivable! The actors were enthusiastic but their delivery was so shrill it was impossible to understand the words they were saying. While some people thought it was wonderful, that’s an hour and a half of my life I’ll never get back. I can only give “Don Chipotle” 1 ½ Spotlights.
The performance began with a hip hop style song, but I couldn’t understand a word they sang. I thought maybe it was me, but my friend couldn’t understand it either. I thought if I waited, the actors would start talking and I’d be able to hear the words, but that didn’t happen. They never just said the words, they yelled them.
“Don Chipotle” was described as an adventure, but I thought it was a horror story. Two 11 year-old boys, Octavio (Karen Rodriguez) and Celestino/Don Chipotle (Angelica Roque) are running for their lives through a scary cityscape – up and down stairs, through tunnels, over railroad tracks, pursued by a variety of scary bad guys. Then there’s a really morbid twist at the end.
The thing is, I didn’t get that these characters were supposed to be boys – because they’re not boys, they’re women!
Lorena Diaz, Wendy Mateo and Isabel Quintero play all of the other characters in the story – everything from playground bullies to teachers to parents to bad cops. All three are wearing death mask makeup, as are the children in the choir, Esme Ayvar-Perez, Maggie Baker, Angelina Bill, Isabel Bravo, Abigail Caruga, Lillian Crespo, Jessica Farfan, Alex Gegax, Janet Rios and Audrey Webb.
“Don Chipotle” is done without scenery, utilizing the stairs and balconies already in place in the space. Everything is painted black except for some glow-in-the-dark streaks on the floor and on some of the clever puppets used in the production. The entire cast (with the exception of the boys) is dressed from head to toe in black so they don’t show up well against the black background.
Although I saw a couple of children in the audience, I would not recommend this production for the younger set.
“Don Chipotle”, produced by terraNOVA Collective and The Playgournd Theater, in association with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, runs through September 27th at the Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph, Chicago. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 2:00. Running time is 100 minutes, no intermission. Tickets are $15. There is a valet parking garage next door, currently charging $22. FYI www.theadventuresofdonchipotle.com. Tickets at www.tix.com.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go t Review Round-up and click at “The Adventures of Don Chipltle”