Thursday, September 28

My Uncle Is Not Pablo Escobar – Brixton House

Matters of representation have become an important issue in the globalized world. What if a group of immigrant misfits could topple one of the most powerful banks in the world?

The play written by Valentina Andrade, Elizabeth Alvarado, Lucy Wray and Tommy Ross-Williams and co-directed by Wray and Ross-Williams deals with several of the problematic issues of being a Latin American Londoner woman. The piece portrays four characters played by Cecilia Alfonso-Eaton, as Lucia, Yanexi Enriquez as Alejandra, Pía Laborde-Noguez as Catalina, and Nathaly Sabino as Honey.

The play starts with a promising introduction, listing the categories included in University admission forms for ethnicity: the intention was to highlight the non-existence of a “Latin American” category in that list. It continues by displaying some of the stereotypes that are attached to Latin American identity in the UK, such as voluptuous bodies or being the relative of drug dealers. Finally, the characters introduce themselves in the first person, talking about the representation of Latinx experiences on stage, and establishing from the very beginning that the idea of a fourth wall will not be part of this play.

After that, we see Enriquez’s Alejandra and Laborde-Noguez’s Catalina kickstart the intrigue that will be the main story of the piece: first slowly, up to the very end, where even cute harnesses are used to break in. But it is better not to get it wrong: the story is only as interesting as the characters. And these four characters have it going. The differences between them are well articulated to showcase the diversity of what they say it to be the fastest growing migrant community in London.

Photo: Emalea Jones

The scenes of the story of the three cleaners (two and a half, to be fair) and the investigative journalist are intertwined themselves with interventions towards the audience, moment in which audience members shout and participate in questions or discussions that are taking place on stage. Again, while the story is interesting and faces important issues, the take-away from the audience will most likely be somewhere else.

The characters are naïve, lovable and very different from each other, with the scene between Laborde-Noguez’s Catalina and Alfonso-Eaton’s Lucia clearly being the most exhilarating scene between a young activist and an experienced journalist one could ever hope for. The acting is simple, straightforward, unpretentious. Yet, it gets it done, and the story escalates towards the end, when a chihuahua will have to endure terrible things for our heroes to save the world.

Grounded by experiences, but dreaming about a better world, this play is a great plan to enjoy while learning about the realities of being a Latinx.

Playing until 24th June,

Reviewer: Gonzalo Sentana

Reviewed: 9th June 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.