Serialized Parkdale comedy continues with Rise of Los Muchos, at Toronto’s Unit 102 Theatre
Rise of Los Muchos, the latest and fourth installment in actor-playwright Luis Fernandes‘ P-Dale set in Parkdale is out. Will the gang of friends and acquaintances explored in past episodes survive to the end of this one? Audiences can expect to find out in this generally funny, profane and engaging performance.
The plot of Rise of Los Muchos is standalone; it might help to have seen earlier episodes, but it isn’t necessary to do so to enjoy the play. All the audience needs to know is that in the first episode of the P-Dale series, four hapless young men in Parkdale led by dealer and aspiring rapper Twizzle (Luis Fernandes) banded together to rob a local convenience store. To hide their identities, three of the four covered their faces with burgundy-coloured cloth, not caring that this was the colour of brutal Peruvian gang Los Muchos.
As the gang is getting ready for another adventure–kidnapping Brad J. Lamb lookalike condo developer Brad J. Wool (Mike Tanchuk) to prevent him from redeveloping Parkdale into the latest trendy condo district–Los Muchos come for vengeance against the people who took their colour in vain. While all this is going on, everyone is running into the new street drug “crush”, a powerful hallucinogen that gives its users the ability to see into a higher level of reality. One that not only lets users realize that they are actors in a play, but lets them see their audience.
This play is supported by the vivid personalities of the characters. Luis Fernandes has a talent for capturing and assembling different stereotypes of the sorts of people living in Parkdale in a time of change–aspiring rappers living on the edge of their marginal neighbourhood, for instance, or ambitious real estate developers and other professionals–and setting them upon each other in a violently wacky universe inspired by the likes of Tarantino. Seeing these character act upon each other in situations as various as awkward first dates at East Side Mario’s, threatening gang kidnappings, or porn studios making use of the latest motion-capture technology is invariably funny.
Rise of Los Muchos is consistently enjoyable. Standout performances in a strong cast for me included Chloe J Sullivan as a tough amateur porn actress who has survived the rough streets of Scarborough, Mike Tanchuk’s carefully smarmy Brad J Wool, Scott Walker’s wise homeless philosophical Walker, and Luis Fernandes’ own Twizzle.
Rise of Los Muchos‘ problems come from the fact that the portrayals of these characters by themselves do not hold together the script very tightly. Many major elements of the plot, like the plot against Wool, are developed only late and lightly; at times, the play feels more like a series of vignettes less than a coherent story. At the same time, other interesting story elements, like the crush that lets the characters interact with the audience, feel crammed into an over-full play. The violence and profanity displayed, often making use of the sorts of sexual or racial slurs fitting the setting, may also be offputting to some people in the audiences.
Rise of Los Muchos is a generally funny and ridiculous play engaging in one of Toronto’s more interesting neighbourhoods. There may be room for improvement, but Fernandes and his actors have given amusing life to a darkly funny universe.
- P-Dale Episode 4: Rise of Los Muchos is playing at Unit 102 Theatre, 376 Dufferin Street.
- Performances are Wednesday July 31 through to Saturday August 3, and Tuesday August 6 through to Sunday August 10.
- P-Dale Episode 4: Rise of Los Muchos contains scenes of a violent or sexual nature, as well as coarse language.
- All performances begin at 8 PM.
- Tickets are $15.
- For tickets, information and directions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Poster provided by the company.