BrumHour was invited to the press night of
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Birmingham Rep.
Please note this post contains affiliate links.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin at Birmingham Rep
Adapted from Louis De Bernieres novel by Rona Munro, Directed by Melly Still
The massively famous best-selling novel of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is now a stage production and has arrived at Birmingham Rep until 15th June. As well as solid actors it features an array of physical performers, dance moments and vocalists.
Set in mainly in a Second World War threatened island of Cephalonia (Kefalonia), this story is about aspiring doctor Pelagia (Madison Clare), her father Doctor Iannis (Joseph Long), her close admirer Mandras (Ashley Gayle) Mandras’ mother Drosoula (Eve Polycarpou) and a village girl Lemoni (Kezrena James), we learn about their life on the island and at the same time we meet Italian soldier Carlo (Ryan Donaldson) and discover he has unspoken chemistry and love with another soldier Francesco (Fred Fergus) and then we meet Carlo’s army Captain, Corelli (Alex Mugnaioni).
This is a beautifully staged production which uses a stripped back set featuring a stepladder, two long pieces of timber and a large metal looking screen to project important backgrounds onto.
For most of the first half the play is told as two parallel stories with our main characters not meeting until a fair bit into the story.
The performances felt soo real that I almost wanted to shout encouragement at the characters and tell them not to make bad choices too. I felt really involved with what was playing out on stage.
Special shoutouts to Luisa Guerreiro who plays a Goat and Elizabeth Mary Williams Psipsina a “cat”. On the surface this looks like a very serious story so its important to have light relief from these darkly comic “animals” on stage and throwing themselves around the set.
Madison Clare is a great leading lady and the confidence, ability and knowledge her character embodies is shown throughout. I was expecting to see more from (Alex Mugnaioni‘s) Corelli right from the start and he really comes into his own later into the first act and it helps that his mandolin playing is beautiful.
With so much story to tell it can become easy to miss moments without a full understanding of the history of the island luckily key moments are spoken by a wireless (the 1940s Alexa).
My plus one Jo-ann had been asking to see this for months and as a book lover she was more than pleased with the results on stage. I went very blankly into this show, knowing only the title and that it was a hugely famous story. Nearly all of the clues were right up there on the stage.
If you’ve read the book you will hugely enjoy this production and if you haven’t, well just go and throw yourself into this world of love and war.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is at the Birmingham Rep until 15th June, book tickets here: birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/captain-corellis-mandolin.html
Tour Dates continue at:
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh 18th to 22nd June: capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/captaincorelli
Theatre Royal, Glasgow 25th to 29th June: Book tickets with BrumHour’s affiliate link >> HERE <<.
Harold Pinter Theatre, London 4th July to 31st August: Book tickets with BrumHour’s affiliate link >> HERE <<.
This isn’t a sponsored post.
When not writing about theatre for BrumHour, or producing Interval Theatre for Brum Radio (Tuesdays 3pm) brumradio.com/intervaltheatre,
Dave Massey can be found eating crisps and claiming to be at the gym. And tweeting about Birmingham for #BrumHour.