Ah, to be Young, Talented and Castrated: Musical farce at REDCAT


There’s a beautifully surreal moment in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive when Laura Elena Harring and Naomi Watts slip into an ornate theater in downtown LA and watch a diva lip-syncing to a Spanish-language rendition of Roy Orbison’s “Crying.”

I think I may have just had that experience. Well, minus the lip-syncing. And the Orbison tune. And the lipstick lesbians. Crap. Can I just start over?

No, the show must go on! And so you too should go see Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes production of the late Jorge Kuri’s musical farce Monsters and Prodigies: the History of the Castrati at downtown’s REDCAT. This is the Los Angeles premiere of the Mexican company’s performance that has traveled around the world since debuting in 2000 in Spain. Only three performances remain–tonight and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m.–and you’ll be sorry if you miss it.

Why? Because where else can you see a centaur grappling with his intellectualism (Miguel Ángel López), a slave that treats his body like an amusement park (Kaveh Parmas), argumentative Siamese-twin barbers/surgeons (Raúl Román and Gastón Yanes) whose specialty is the cruelest cut or Napoleon Bonaparte himself (Luis Fernando Villegas) astride a real-life Andalusion stallion?

The Spanish-language production (don’t worry, there are subtitles) also offers hilarious physical comedy, some beautiful falsetto performances by Javier Medina and a fascinating history of the castrati phenomenon in Opera that will have you rushing to Wikipedia to find out how much of it is actually true.

Images courtesy of REDCAT.