“Playing Latinx”, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Summerhall – Cairns Lecture Theatre
18:55. Duration 1 hour.
To 27 August (not 21)

20 August 2023
Maggie Rose in Edinburgh

Summerhall’s multi-arts, multi-disciplinary programme this year is entitled, “Open Minds, Open Doors”.

Such an ethos and aspiration is well reflected in Guido Garcia Lueches’s “Playing Latinx”. Billed as a ‘one-human show’, this entertaining, politically incorrect, fun seminar takes audience members on a journey into the stereotypes people in Britain often associate with Latin American migrants to the UK.

There is an ironic metatheatrical element to all this because Lueches is striving to find a niche in UK theatre. According to what he presents, that niche has already been carved out for him in an industry that thinks along stratified lines.

Lueches invites audience members up onstage where, sitting on a huge chair, they are given a script and asked to play the role of a casting director in search of actors to adopt the stereotypical roles that we tend to associate with Latin Americans.

Those types as presented here include sombrero-wearing Tequila drinkers who are emotional, sexy and happy. “What does it take to be a successful Latinx?” Lueches asks us this in a context where in a moment of anger that contrasts with the rest of the show, he denounces the injustices and harsh treatment of migrants in contemporary Britain.

This resourceful accomplished performer and writer successfully fuses comedy and those
moments of scathing sociological critique when the politics of the play come to the fore. We are saddened that Lueches prospers only by conforming to stereotypes; his speech and body language become what he knows will appeal to those casting a project.

The truly searching question is left unasked in this clever script and it becomes more urgent because we ask it ourselves. How does this person really behave? How would he want to project himself if the playing field were level and he were not being swayed towards preconceived behaviour?