There's a Coqui In My Shoe! is unworthy of Puerto Rico's greatest amphibian | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

There's a Coqui In My Shoe! is unworthy of Puerto Rico's greatest amphibian 

A young frog learns it's not easy being green as he ventures on a journey of self-discovery.

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Wes Carrasquillo

Frog plays don't come along every week. Puerto Rico's dearest native amphibian, the coqui, finally gets a taste of the theatrical acknowledgment it so richly deserves in this 90-minute celebration of the island nation's heritage. Carlito (Manny Colon) is no ordinary coqui, though. Oh, no. Catch him doing fun things like eating cereal, dancing the cha-cha, and discussing rain-forest conservation at a level of abstraction inaccessible to children. His friends? They're the kookiest bunch of flatly anthropomorphized tree dwellers in El Yunque. They simply crack me up with their two entire songs and a reprise about how wonderful it feels to eat a piragua, the Puerto Rican snow cone. But it's when Carlito gets lost inside an enormous shoe and then magically grows to the same size as the boy whose shoe it is that things really get exciting for fans of theater that feels like some weird interlude at a fund-raiser.

Colon was the only cast member who appeared to consistently have his lines and cues down on opening night. On top of that, principals' mikes kept being all staticky. I heard about zero child laughter in the audience for the duration of the show except for when Jeffery Wilson was onstage, and pretty much all he did was this random chubby lifeguard bit. Kudos to the Latin band off in a dank, unlit corner putting in great work. More music, with more lively choreography by Anais Zayas and less of the froggy business, please God. Roberto and Griselda Negrón direct.   v

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