BWW Review: ANNA IN THE TROPICS BY NILO CRUZ at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre At The Warwick

BWW Review: ANNA IN THE TROPICS BY NILO CRUZ at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre At The Warwick

Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre's latest production is Pulitzer Prize winning Nilo Cruz's "Anna in the Tropics", and is the first production to performing at the new Warwick Theatre venue. The show, set in 1920's Tampa, Florida revolves around a group of Cuban immigrants who run a cigar factory. To ease their boredom they have a "Lector" read to them throughout the work day. After their elderly lector dies, they hire a new young man who selects Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina". As he tells the passionate tale it reveals the conflict between traditional culture and modern ideas that spills over into the personal relationships of the workers. As the group try to come to terms with the inevitable changes that progress brings, a simmering grudge becomes the fuel that ignites a rage that spins out of control in a dramatically climactic ending.BWW Review: ANNA IN THE TROPICS BY NILO CRUZ at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre At The Warwick

Bonnie Griffin is Ofelia the matriarch who holds both the factory and the family together. Griffin gives the role a strong and powerful presence, yet reveals a compassionately soft side as her husband falters. Jose Faus as Ofelia's husband Santiago, is both macho and vulnerable. Faus shows the struggle of a man nearly broken by alcohol and gambling who finds redemption through love and the pride of tradition. Victoria Botero is Conchita a neglected wife who yearns for loving connection. Botero gives convincing reason for her character's break from cultural norms as she passionately seeks love that is far from traditional. Greg Butell, as Conchita's husband Palomo, offers up a rather selfish character who has been spending his love on a mistress. What Butell brings to the character is a certain inquisitiveness that for a time allows his wife space, but ultimately rekindles his own feelings for her. Athena Horton plays the young starry-eyed Marella with refreshing innocence and optimism. Horton is effervescent in a role where she goes from cautiously superstitious to shyly seductive. Andy Penn takes on a more villainous role as Cheche. Penn crafts a character that is torn to the core from abandonment, pushes for change and modernity, yet is conflicted to a point of destruction. As Juan Julian, the lector, Matthew Williamson delivers a performance that steams up the women and boils the men. His choice to read "Anna Karenina" steers the literary story toward a gripping collision with cultural traditions.BWW Review: ANNA IN THE TROPICS BY NILO CRUZ at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre At The Warwick

The Warwick Theatre is once again an entertainment space after an absence of more than 60 years. This is the first show in the newly inhabited venue and while they've not had much time to renovate, the show proves to be yet another well done production. Directed by Karen Paisley, this effort is a perfect inaugural show for the reopened Warwick.

Anna in the Tropics is showing April 12-22, 2018 at the MET's newly acquired venue.
The Warwick is at 3927 Main St, KCMO 64111 and there's plenty of parking behind the building.Tickets can be ordered online at metkc.org or over the phone by calling the box office at 816-569-3226

BWW Review: ANNA IN THE TROPICS BY NILO CRUZ at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre At The Warwick

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