Review: The Toners Live! Toners in Time
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What: The final weekend of The Toners Live! Toners in Time at the New Theatre.
Better than: An hour's worth of free Jupiña and rum.
If the premise doesn't grab you--two unknown dudes from South Miami travel in time to the year 2002 for a chance to become the originators of Reggaeton--then you probably didn't grow up down here, and if you didn't grow up here, you won't understand a full 50% of the jokes. I didn't grow up in Miami, and I admit, I had no idea who Walter Mercado was and why a giant projection of his likeness was so frickin' hilarious, but my wife did grow up here. And she was practically falling into the aisle. Mind you, she's not a fan of low-budget theater and has little patience for young artists sticking their necks out and failing valiantly, and that was definitely a possibility Saturday night.
The Toners in Time! was the first production for the foryoucansee theater group, composed of an assorted all-under-30 crowd, so even though some of these cats have some experience (Afrobeta's Cristi Garcia, Julliard's Marco Ramirez, CCCV's Lucas Leyva), the task of launching a fully-polished product was beyond their grasp. But give me a bare bones set and a few rough transitions any day over a slick Broadway show if the latter lacks the comedic charm of The Toners.
From the opening monologue, in which a guy gets dumped in a voice message left by his girlfriend's sister, to the Cuba Libre jerseys worn over American Eagle button-downs, to the fake Reggaeton hit "Rumpa Sexy," The Toners flexes its comedic muscle by keeping it smart and simple: just hold up a mirror to this ridiculous city and let it look itself in the face.
Now can we hold up a mirror to the Miami-Dade County Commissioners? Or is that a different genre?
Word is that Toners in Time is only the first of a Toners trilogy, so if you missed it, all hope is not lost. Stay tuned, Former Prom Kings of Belen.