By Andrew Andrews

Henry (Nelson Avidon) reads a pamphlet to the illiterate Mae (Nicole Villamil) and Lloyd (Julian Elijah Martinez) in Teatro Circulo’s revival of Maria Irene Fornes’ MUD. Original photo by Al Foote III.

Look: I’m going to try to explain just how intense BOUNDLESS Theatre Company’s production of MUD is, but you’re not going to get it. I mean, how much drama could possibly be packed into a show about three people with IQs far below the national average who rarely leave their rural Appalachian farm? And how could the story of their squabbles ever appeal to an audience as sophisticated as ours, in a city as cosmopolitan as New York—let alone engage us? Honestly, I don’t know how it happens... but trust me on this: it happens.

Nicole Villamil will steal your heart as Mae, a woman who can barely read but believes that, with perseverance, she will eventually escape to a better life. Julian Elijah Martinez will freak-you-the-fuck-out as the straight-from-Deliverance Lloyd, her “family” who isn’t really family and “mate” who cheats on her with the livestock. And Nelson Avidon will just impress the hell out of you as Henry, the smartest of the bunch, who’s mere presence gives Mae hope—until the point that it doesn’t.

So, what makes this production more intense than you can possibly imagine? Maybe it’s Maria Irene Fornes’ incredible script. Maybe the credit goes to director Elena Araoz. Maybe it’s that everyone in the cast really has their characters sussed out, really seems to have come from the backwoods of early twentieth century America. Or maybe it’s that the whole thing just plays right into our sophisticated, cosmopolitan stereotypes of what takes place in the distant reaches of our nation’s red states. But let’s be real: it must be the perfect storm of all of these factors—plus the minimalist yet effective scenic design (Regina Garcia); the unique freeze-frame lighting and sound effects (Maria-Cristina Fuste and Nathan Leigh) that terminate each of the multitude of tension-filled, minutes-long scenes; and costumes (Sarita Fellows) that look like they were stolen right off the backs of people who simply can’t afford to have the clothes stolen right off their backs.

Look: again, I’m sorry if my words have failed you, but I promise that this performance will not. So when you’re ready to be amazed by just how freakin’ intense a show can be with only three actors in a tiny basement theater, high-tail it to Teatro Circulo for this incredible production. Then, be sure to come back and tell us how badly it freaked you the fuck out. Because as always, your reviews help others decide whether they should attend, and your ratings help us help you find upcoming shows that you’re sure to love!


Andrew Andrews attended MUD at Teatro Circulo in Manhattan on Sunday, October 8, 2017 @ 6:00pm to write this review.