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Tuesday, 18 June 2019

REVIEW: Napoli, Brooklyn at the Park Theatre

Theatre can be powerful and emotionally engaging when you have a great script, brilliant cast and a strong production and a story routed in reality but with a strong message for todays’ society. Napoli, Brooklyn at the Park 200 Theatre is such a production – faultless moving storytelling and a message for all of us to “learn to take people how they are”. Written by a woman, directed by a woman and with a mainly female cast it does not really need the mother to tell us “women are the strongest ones”.

Meghan Kennedy’s story is set in an Italian immigrant community in New York in 1960 and the simple but effective set by Frankie Bradshaw creates the sense of location from the start with the Italian meat hanging above the cooker, four catholic Virgin Marys dotted around the stage and a Bush radio on the table. We hear the kids playing outside as the planes fly overhead. It seamlessly and quickly doubles for other locations in the community, the butchers, the factory, and the convent with precise tight lighting by Johanna Town.

Into this space we find the Italian Mamma, Luda (a wonderful performance from Madeleine Worrall), no longer able to cry even with an onion held against her eye, her emotions suppressed by the powerful towering figure of her bullying husband Nic (a strong gritty performance from Robert Cavanah) and the responsibility for bringing up her three daughters. You feel her love and fear in equal measure.
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