A NoHo Arts theatre review of “Made in Puerto Rico,” written and performed by Eli Castro at Whitefire Theatre Solofest 2022.
Eli Castro is a stand up comedian. As such, he has travelled all over the country and he has also written and performed 10 solo shows. His latest, “Made in Puerto Rico,” ran Off-Broadway for seven sold-out weeks. So, he clearly knows what he is doing.
This solo show is a beautifully balanced homage to his Puerto Rican roots and absolutely hilarious.
Eli Castro is truly a force of nature, a Puerto Rican force of nature. In this show he recounts his journey from a child in Puerto Rico, moving to White Plaines, NY with his family and every cultural brick wall that he encountered. Growing up far from his roots and surrounded by the whitest of white Americans it can’t have been easy, especially when he knew about eight words of English when he arrived. But being thrown into the deep end must have done something good, because he has excelled. Yet, not just a comedian, but a lawyer too!
It’s easy to make fun of a culture, even your own, but Eli Castro has a way of sweetly and lovingly send it up, like a favourite uncle. As he guides us through his childhood, he teaches us all what it is to be a Puerto Rican on the main land. Some of my favourite moments are when he retells family reunions, traveling back to Puerto Rico every summer with his family, trudging around to each and every relative. There are also some really funny stories about driving around the island, tiny winding roads and no Sat nav. “Made in Puerto Rico” is just so cleverly put together.
Eli Castro is a master performer, a brilliant physical comedian. He twists and turns his body and his face to fit each story and character and anecdote. “Made in Puerto Rico” is really brilliantly done.
There is of course a lot of music. Puerto Rico is famous for Salsa, but he introduces the audience to Bomba too, a traditional style of Puerto Rican music and dance that reflects the African heritage of the island. And let me tell you, it’s fantastic! Full of passion and energy and life. In fact, much like Eli himself.
“Made in Puerto Rico” is a wonderful, warmly funny, gorgeously performed and tender recognition of the wonderful place that made Eli Castro. He manages to to bring laughter and honor and even a tear to the eye as he shares his world with us.
It’s an utterly brilliant show, one of the best of Solofest this year and I hope he brings it to the Hollywood Fringe Festival! Bravo!
To find out more about Eli Castro and the show, visit his website elicastro.com
And the show, “Made in Puerto Rico” is online streaming for a few more weeks on the Whitefire Vimeo channel: