An incredibly important piece of theatre about the human cost of cocaine production in Colombia. Miguel is Colombian, but he has absolutely no link whatsoever with cocaine. That doesn’t stop the suspicion he receives when he arrives at a UK airport, despite having lived here for 11 years. In this show, he delves deep into the history of the coca plant, the abuse it’s suffered at the hands of westerners, and the blame that falls on Colombians for cocaine production and transportation when they are the ones who are suffering the most.
The show is made up of a series of skits, all in very different styles and all executed brilliantly. Some very clever projection aids the tale of the traditional usage of the coca plant by the tribes of Colombia for thousands of years; a voiceover and some excellent physical movement by Miguel show what it’s like to be high on cocaine - and the comedown - and a simple reading of the story of one of his friends whose uncle was murdered by the drug cartels is moving and poignant. My favourite, however, was the game show, ‘plata o plomo’ (gold or lead), which Miguel - as an incredibly enthusiastic host - uses ingeniously to explain the process from leaf to line, whilst revealing the truly disgusting and vile nature of the people who oversee it.
The bits in between each skit, in which Miguel talks directly to the audience, felt, to me, slightly artificial and often unnecessary; until, that is, the end, when Miguel truly expresses his anger and hurt at the injustices of the cocaine trade. The intensity of his emotion is incredibly moving and completely understandable, and an inevitable conclusion to the piece.
I didn’t know any of what Miguel reveals about the nature of the production of cocaine and how irreparably damaging it is to Colombia and its people. This isn’t something we’re not talking about enough, it’s something we’re not talking about at all. Miguel admits that he has no solution, but what he’s doing with this show is already so important. I hope as many people as possible see this, and that awareness grows and spreads so that one day, we really can change things.
Stardust is on at 16:20 at Pleasance Dome until August 27th, excluding the 20th. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the EdFringe website.