Our Lady of the Tortilla | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Our Lady of the Tortilla 

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Our Lady of the Tortilla, Attic Playhouse. Luis Santeiro's goofy 1987 comedy about a Latino family revolves around the revelations that ensue when a pious aunt (convincingly played by Barbara Stasiw) sees the Virgin Mary while cooking her first batch of tortillas. It's an especially bad day for miracles since college-student son Nelson (Geoffrey Maher) is bringing his WASP girlfriend Beverly (Kate Wasson) home to his New Jersey row house for the first time. Though he's ashamed of his family's quirks and eccentricities, the sweet Beverly is charmed by them.

The play, broadly directed with little sense of fun by Jean Losquardo, is obvious but good-hearted, with fewer culture clashes than one might expect. The performers do a fine job of bringing their parts beyond stereotypes, though their generic Hispanic accents waver and almost disappear by the end. Jan Ellen Graves plays Nelson's flamboyant mother, who's trying to seduce her husband back into the family fold, and Tony Fiorentino is brother Eddy, a smooth operator who puts the moves on Beverly while his own girlfriend sits outside in a van. Set designer Jack Zordan creates a cheerful living room and kitchen covered with icons and kitsch, including a light-up Madonna.

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