The Other Palace
Opening Night – 31st May 2017
“Audrey Brisson is superb as the meek Gelsomina“
Directed by Sally Cookson, La Strada is a new adaptation of the Federico Fellini 1957 film of the same name. Given that Lionel Bart’s 1969 musical based on the film closed after just one performance, it would be interesting if this new take would fair any better.
The film is a strong and powerful work with gritty characters and a disturbingly dark narrative. It follows the tale of Gelsomina, a young girl sold by her own mother to Zampanò, a travelling street performer. Chillingly the previous year Gelsomina’s sister had been sold to the same man but had ‘not survived the winter’. Zampanò is a brute of a man who regularly beats and intimidates the girl while using her as an assistant to his act.
The play follows the same plot but despite being enjoyable to watch, there is no real sense of drama and it just seems to lack a certain spark. Audrey Brisson is however superb as the meek Gelsomina, her portrayal as the timid, yet desperate to please youngster, is the best in the show.
Stuart Goodwin’s Zampanò is nowhere near unpleasant enough (which is more down to the writing and direction than his acting) and he doesn’t quite have the believable build of the strongman he portrays. The remaining cast and musicians cover a number of characters across several scenes and at times do bring some much needed vibrancy to the show.
The lighting (Aideen Malone) and set design (Katie Sykes) are both pleasing and bring the scenes alive. Director Sally Cookson has succeeded in making a pleasant enough show to go and see but sadly lacking in pathos.
Production Photography by Robert Day
La Strada is at The Other Palace until 8th July