Kid Creole & the Coconuts | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Kid Creole & the Coconuts 

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Like Sun Ra, James Brown, Fela Kuti, and a few others, August "Kid Creole" Darnell uses the stage and a big crowd of musicians to create a rich, evocative, obsessively personal world of his own. It's a trashily theatrical movie-studio vision of Pan-Americana, a big supercosmopolitan calypso/R&B/Latin/pop/Caribbean funk mess with 1940s swing horns slathered all over it. Fronting with the dapper, vaguely sleazy, zoot-suited Kid Creole is vibist-sidekick Andy "Coati Mundi" Hernandez; he plays the buffoon onstage but is actually a formidable composer-arranger-orchestrator who contributes vital behind-scenes input to this revue. The music is nothing if not danceable--and while transparent "sincerity" just isn't Darnell's bag, he does use his fertile imagination and solid musicianship to put over an implicit one-world message that's actually quite inspiring. Tonight, 7:30 PM, Riviera Nightclub, 4746 N. Racine; 769-6300. Tuesday, 8 PM, Holiday Star Theatre, I-65 and U.S. 30, Merrillville, Indiana; 734-7266.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Beorge DuBose--Pix Int'l.

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