‘Sunsets and Margaritas’: Creative Dysfunction

 

Join Gregorio Serrano (Tommy Gomez) for his dad’s 78th birthday
party and May Day with family and friends at a rundown cantina
operated by Gregorio and his wife Luz (Roxane Carrasco).
Join Gregorio Serrano (Tommy Gomez) for his dad’s 78th birthday party and May Day with family and friends at a rundown cantina operated by Gregorio and his wife Luz (Roxane Carrasco). The fact that Pop is one maraca short of a mariachi band and ready for some heavy assisted living – which he is absolutely rejects with a vengeance – makes for a rollicking ride with dysfunctional family members that could fit into any family, be it Latino, Jewish, Italian, Irish etc. Just change the dialect and a few of the traditions and you have a slice of life from anywhere.

Here we have a loveable, nutty group that will keep the audience entertained, though the interaction can get a little over the top and characters can get lost in the melee.

Meet their lesbian, Republican, overly-sensitive daughter (Dena Martinez), who has a 6-month-old who she hasn’t named since she can’t make up her mind between Ashlee, Amber or Courtney. There’s the neurotic pseudo entrepreneur son (Miles Gaston Villanueva) in a hopped-up, low-rider wheelchair with a boom box and designer wheels. There’s Bianca (Erika Yanin Perez-Hernandez), hired to help at the cantina and the wild card in the group. There’s macho, gun-wielding father (Daniel Valdez), who creates mayhem in his convertible while using enough guilt to keep his son breathing in a paper bag to stop hyperventilating. Finally, throw in a Vegas feathered, sultry Our Lady of Guadalupe, and a few other apparitions (Lucinda Serrano) and you have an entertaining farce that covers just about every Latino cliche that exists.

The entire cast is strong and works hard with the physical energy every character displays throughout the performance.

Delightful moments are produced when one of the three main male characters strum the guitars that sit on the bandstand. They play well and it’s a tease – you want to hear more.

Playwright Jose Cruz Gonzalez and director Amy Gonzalez (not related) display just about the right flavor to keep the performance moving and authentic. Frank Sarmiento’s restaurant set is genuine – tacky, with a few surprises – and Steven B. Mannshardt’s lighting completes the illusion.

Spend an entertaining time with “Sunrise and Margaritas” without the buzz. There is a smattering of feisty language. Not kid-friendly.

***

‘Sunsets and Margaritas’

Where: Lucy Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto

Runs: Through April 4

Details: (650) 463-1060 or visit Theatreworks.org

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