Playing Latinx @ Summerhall

Guido Garcia Lueches wins hearts and laughs with their first one-person show, using comedy and poetry to demonstrate the danger of perpetuating stereotypes

Review by Charlotte Chapman | 22 Aug 2023
  • Playing Latinx

Guido Garcia Lueches & Marianamalena Theatre Co. bring their wildly entertaining one-person show Playing Latinx to the Fringe this year, delivering high-energy comedy in a seminar-style format, fitting for a lecture hall venue. Through a series of hilarious sketches, Garcia Lueches teaches the audience how to be a successful immigrant in the UK, encouraging them out of their seats for improvised salsa lessons and telenovela-style acting workshops. Participation is encouraged at every stage, and with the charismatic and welcoming energy of their characters, the audience are soon climbing over one another to join in the fun.

In between the laughs, however, lie moments of striking commentary, often delivered as pieces of punchy poetry. The exaggerated impressions thinly veil a genuine frustration with Latinx representation, drawing largely from Garcia Lueches' own experience in the UK theatre scene. The format of the show leads the audience toward a climax of political commentary which is visible from some distance – though this does not make it any less impactful. In fact, Playing Latinx's familiar formula allows the audience to come to their own realisations, without diluting the camp of the piece.

Though inviting the audience to laugh at them, Garcia Lueches does not mince their words when it comes time to turn the joke around. The emotional peaks of the show are poignant, but perhaps not revolutionary; while Garcia Lueches navigates between cultural tensions and familiar stereotypes with ease, there is room for them to strike harder, and perhaps faster.

However, the ceiling of Playing Latinx also functions to keep its comedy at the forefront, maintaining a light-hearted atmosphere that does not detract from the gags. Playing Latinx leaves its audience with the quietly profound question familiar to many migrant communities – how do we strive for good representation? And at what point do the stereotypes begin to play us?

Playing Latinx, Summerhall (Cairns Lecture Theatre), until 27 Aug, 6.55pm, £10-15