Mob Wife: A Mafia Comedy
Reviewed – 24th January 2019
“The frenetic, knockabout comedy of the second half is more effective than the stodgier and sedate first”
This new mafia musical by Michael Mott and Corey Skaggs is typical screwball stuff. All is not well on mob wife Debra Delbono’s (Ashleigh Aston) a tenth anniversary with her husband, and newly promoted mob boss, Tony. He seems ill-at-ease in his new role, flowers have arrived at the house from a mysterious woman and rumours are swirling that her psychopathic father, Vincenzo (James Edge), may have somehow wangled his way off death row. Misunderstandings and hijinks duly ensue.
The parodic mobster shtick has been done an awful lot and this show doesn’t shy away from the ‘yous guys’ and ‘cup of cowafee’ cliches. It feels overlong – well over two hours – and the plot (while intentionally ridiculous) borders on incomprehensible at times. The songs are generally solid and performed with gusto by a ten-strong cast but are not particularly memorable and will need some lyrical tweaks. The show could also be staged more imaginatively: despite the Cockpit’s generous thrust space, several scenes are bunched up at the back of the stage and the blocking feels awkward and under-rehearsed in places.
The show is at its best when it leans into its more farcical instincts. The frenetic, knockabout comedy of the second half is more effective than the stodgier and sedate first. Some running jokes are mined effectively with one magnificent payoff at the start of the second act. Dru Stephenson stands out as Debra’s sassy and quick-tempered confidant, Joanne Trevesani, and makes the most of some of the best lines in the show. I particularly enjoyed her description of her car: ‘the deep cherry cadillac parked in the disabled spot’. Elsewhere, Matt Bond gives an extraordinary vocal performance as Tony Delbono which is worth the price of admission alone.
It’s far from groundbreaking, and will need a good deal of refinement, but it’s a sufficiently diverting evening out.
Reviewed by Joe Spence
Mob Wife: A Mafia Comedy
Cockpit Theatre until 26th January
Previously reviewed at this venue:
Cantata for Four Wings | ★ | April 2018
Into the Woods | ★★★★ | May 2018
On Mother’s Day | ★★★½ | August 2018
Zeus on the Loose | ★★ | August 2018
The Distance You Have Come | ★★★★ | October 2018
Don’t You Dare! | ★★★ | November 2018
Unbelonger | ★★★½ | November 2018
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