‘Becoming Cuba’ at Huntington is a bit short on pizzazz

"Becoming Cuba" at Huntington Theatre Company. Credit: T. Charles Erickson
Strong individual performances in “Becoming Cuba” can’t rescue a slightly lackluster production.
Credit: T. Charles Erickson

Playwright Melinda Lopez freely lampoons the English language for its lack of passion in her latest work, “Becoming Cuba.”

Ironically, the Huntington Theatre Company’s playwright-in-residence fails to give Adela, one of the story’s main characters, enough of that Spanish flair to keep Act I from being long, slow and void of any real excitement. Though Act II fares somewhat better, the story suffers from predictable plotlines, clichés and the romantic entanglement of people who have zero chemistry.

Christina Pumariega’s Adela spends her days in the most beautiful apothecary you’ll ever see, while Cuban rebels battle Spain for their independence right outside her door. Her Spanish husband was killed by the rebels, one of whom is her Cuban half-brother Manny (Juan Javier Cardenas). The story is being chronicled by Davis, a bland American journalist who falls for Adela.

It’s fortunate that Manny becomes an integral player in the story, since Cardenas is the only one on stage with any real pizzazz. He tells the story of the end of baseball in Havana with palpable delight and later demonstrates incredible passion for and commitment to his cause, as the bloody battle hits close to home.

Rebecca Soler delivers a bit of sass as their wise-cracking young sister Martina, though also proves void of chemistry in her own romantic encounter.

Marianna Bassham is stunning as Fancy, the lonely wife of a Spanish lieutenant, whom Christopher Burns nicely imbues with a disturbing level of cruelty.

Lopez definitely has an interesting story to tell, but it needs time to develop. Like the lovely Cameron Anderson set on which it’s told, “Becoming Cuba” needs a little more grit and a lot more flavor to make it sizzle.

If you go
“Becoming Cuba”
Through May 3rd
Calderwood Pavilion, BCA 539 Tremont St., Boston
Starting at $25


Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.


Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.


Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…


U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…


Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.


Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…


Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.


Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.


Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…


Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…


Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…