Mini-review – Filumena – Almeida Theater

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It’s been nearly a week since I saw Filumena at the Almeida Theater and, as I’ve suspected, I’ve nearly entirely forgotten about it already. Why this 1946 play would be revived is a mystery to me, especially in the watery translation we were provided. I found the language so profoundly filtered through English culture that the Neapolitan was washed right out, except for the scene where Filumena (Samantha Spiro) threatened to kill her long time lover Domenico (Clive Wood) if he reveals her big secret; in that moment of potent violence, right before intermission, I hoped some of the heat of Italy would wash over the bizarre fake Cockney and upper clash posho accents pollluting the entire show like Pimms and cream scones and actually show us the a real flavor of Naples; but it was not to be. Instead we continued on with our friendly, Mary Poppins-esque token old folks Rosalia (Sheila Reed) and Alfredo (Geoffrey Freshwater), both cute and essentially anonymous, good actors wasted in a duff play, and the unfolding of a bit of surprise drama that left me thinking I’d been seriously short-changed at the end of the night. The acting was probably fine. The script is as comforting as a re-run of a favorite sit-com, bland and revealing everything we want to believe about human nature. I’ll take Strindberg, Pinter, and La Bute, thanks.

(This review is for a performance seen on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012. I attended thanks to the Almeida’s friendly invitation to certain bloggers to join them on Press Night. The show continues through May 12th.)

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