Mala Hierba

Theater, Drama
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Mala Hierba. McGinn/Cazale Theatre (see Off Broadway). By Tanya Saracho. Directed by Jerry Ruiz. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission.

Mala Hierba: In brief

Tanya Saracho, who has written for HBO's Looking and Girls, offers a portrait of a Texas trophy wife on the Mexican border. Jerry Ruiz directs the all-female cast of four for Second Stage's Uptown Series.

Mala Hierba: Theater review by David Cote

Some trophies lie in dusty neglect under shoes and coats; others are obsessively polished and displayed by vain owners. Latina replacement bride Liliana (Marta Milans) gets both treatments in Mala Hierba. She’s expected to look sexy and glamorous at all times, even as her wealthy brute of a husband treats her like garbage. Tanya Saracho’s satirical dramedy tracks this conflicted Texan socialite over two weeks as she is torn between her heart and her credit limit.

It’s a tough call when bedroom-eyed Maritza (ice-chill Roberta Colindrez), a flame from Liliana’s past, reignites at a party. Soon she’s shacking up with this Chicago-based feminist artist, praying that her horribly spoiled stepdaughter, Fabiola (Ana Nogueria, splendidly vulgar), doesn’t rat her out.

Beyond the welcome novelty of a Latina lesbian rom-com in Spanglish with a consumerist critique, Saracho writes swaggering, punchy dialogue for a cast with steely charm and comic chops. For non-Spanish speakers (like me), the title means “weed” or (loosely) “bad seed.” This one grows big and flowers.—Theater review by David Cote

THE BOTTOM LINE Money talks in a materialist morality play.

Follow David Cote on Twitter: @davidcote

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