REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

Momma’s Boyz

By Candido Tiradomomma's boyz

Directed by Ricardo Gutierrez

Produced by Teatre Vista

At Chicago Dramatist Theatre, Chicago

Part urban comedy and part urban drama, Momma’s Boyz is a mixed bag.

Playwright Candido Tirado’s, Momma’s Boyz uses the street language of the Latino barrio including generous use of  “Yo” as an introductory article. I must have heard “yo” a few dozen time in this over written two hour comedy/drama. I guess authentic street language can be repetitive.

momma's boyz

In the early scenes, we meet three small-time gang-bangers: Mimic (Steve Casillas), Shine (Marvin Quijada) and Thug (Jesse David).   Mimic attends Shine’s funeral and he expresses his grief. We see the ghost of Shine as we learn that Thug shot Shine as a result of an argument over how drug selling corner is to be maned.

momma's boyz

Playwright Tirado cleverly move backward in time to show us how and why these three uneducated ghetto guys got involved in selling drugs. We see how Mimic is a  gentle soul who dreams of becoming an actor and we see that Shine is a charming born salesman deft at selling drugs but he dreams of opening a recording studio. The wildcard in the group is Thug. He is insecure, tough guy who seeks approval at every turn. He is an emotional, rage-filled guy filled with a ghetto mentality bent on self-destructive behavior.

momma's boyz

The more we go back in time to see how and why these three relatively harmlessly guys become involved in the drug trade. We see that all three, beneath their bravado,  are likable losers who are struggling to fulfill their dreams.

As we get to know these three, we laugh with them and at them, as they give us a glimpse into the world of the barrio. Generous use of magical realism together with the three dressing and speaking and utilizing the body language of Latino street gangsters. These “want-to-be’s”  garner much empathy the more we go back in time. The ending uses  a clever devise. While I thought that the play is a tad over-written with too much banter, as a whole theatre piece, Momma’s Boyz is entertaining, clever and quite well acted.  Tirado has a fine ear for urban  street language. Jess David and Marvin Quijada were fine but Steve Casillas almost steals the show with is honest portrayal of the gentle banger.  The laughs and the pathos blend to make for a most engaging dose of urban theatre.


Tom Williams

At Chicago Dramatist Theatre, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, call 312-666-4659,, tickets $25, $20 for seniors/students, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with intermission, through December 4, 2011

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