Familia Ties

As weary as we may get of the high-pitched rant, we're never bored. Kelly's impassioned direction thrusts the play forward like a theatrical tidal wave. His pacing is brisk but not rushed, allowing this marvelous ensemble to deliver performances that are emotionally genuine and informed by surprising subtlety. Blackman, Torres, and Saguar are simply outstanding as the brothers Santos, and Carpenter lends enormous complexity and power to the racist Judge Benton.

As characters the women don't stand a chance, but as performers they remain undaunted by all the virility around them and manage to make their considerable presences felt. As Nena, Mike's shoe-loving wife strung out on the good life in America, Martinez exhibits the sort of fragility and strength associated with porcelain china. I was also moved by Maria Candelaria's Vicky, who has settled for a loveless marriage to Fernie and an unlimited supply of cocaine, but who still carries a torch for Tomas and memories of a romantic evening long ago.

Santos & Santos runs through Aug. 18.

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