Thursday, 6 September 2012

Angela’s Kitchen, Sept 5, 2012 ***

Angela’s Kitchen, by Paul Capsis & Julian Meyrick
Griffin Theatre Company presented by Malthouse Theatre
Beckett Theatre, Malthouse, Sep 4 to 23, 2012
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Review also published in Herald Sun Sunday, Sept 9, 2012
Paul Capsis in Angela's Kitchen 
STORIES OF MIGRATION TO AUSTRALIA are always more poignant when they are personal, and Paul Capsis’s story of his grandmother Angela’s migration from Malta after the Second World War is no exception.

Capsis prowls the stage, narrating the story of his family and, more specifically, that of his beloved grandmother and his relationship with her.

He addresses the audience directly with his engaging, wry and intimate storytelling, speaking as himself much of the time, but also transforming into Angela, her daughters, her husband, grandchildren and Paul himself as a screaming, playful or isolated child.

The most memorable scene is when Capsis transports us to his riotous family dinner, shifting in an instant from one quirky family member to another: resentful Aunty Doris sucking on a cigarette, deep-voiced, patriarchal granddad, Paul’s manic, Aussie–accented mum, his surly brother and Angela, the peacemaker.

The show, directed sensitively by Julian Meyrick, craves more of these heightened characterisations and, although Capsis sings snatches of Maltese folk songs, the show would leap to another level if it incorporated more of his exceptional vocal abilities.

This episodic work balances drama with comedy, captions scenes with simple titles such as Return to Malta, and illustrates stories with projected photos of the family and Malta (Steve Toulmin).

The kitchen is the heart of both the family and its story, and Louise McCarthy’s rustic kitchen design cunningly uses homely kitchen items to construct a miniature Malta perched atop the pantry.

Capsis’s story will resonate with those who share his migrant heritage, his love of his grandmother or his memories of a dysfunctional family.

Written by Paul Capsis and Julian Meyrick
Directed by Julian Meyrick
Associate Writer: Hilary Bell
Design: Louise McCarthy
Lighting Design: Verity Hampson
Sound Design: Alister Spence
Audio-Visual Design: Steve Toulmin

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