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:
The Marriage of Kim K
Reviewed – 25th July 2017
“Zesty and Irreverent”
First, a quick note. I am not an ‘opera person’. In fact, The Marriage of Kim K’ is the first opera I have ever seen. And seeing as it is part of the Arcola Theatre’s Grimeborn Opera Festival, whose tag line is ‘see opera differently’, I feel this is important. I have never seen opera, differently or otherwise, so what I find to be brilliant may seem to an opera purist to be sacrilegious. That said, this show is brilliant. And I don’t even care if it’s sacrilegious.
In a dramatically innovative restaging of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, we follow central couple Amelia (Amelia Gabriel) and Stephen (Stephen Hyde) attempting to keep their relationship alive amid the competing pressures of work and their diverging interests. She loves the Kardashians, he loves opera. Into this set-up come Kim Kardashian (Yasemin Mireille) and Kris Humphries (James Edge) and the Count and Countess Almaviva (Nathan Bellis and Emily Burnett), via the TV set. Both of these couples are also experiencing their own marriage troubles and it is through their parallel storylines and eventual interactions that the script has a lot of fun mixing fact and fiction. It is a night that begins with our core couple watching reality TV and finishes with them being watched by it.
The small stage is put to ingenious use. Amelia and Stephen occupy the central space of sofa and TV, whilst Kim and Kris and the Count and Countess occupy the two opposite wings. In a witty touch, these wings are mirror images of each other, both containing a single table and chair, showing us that though our couple may argue about the relative merits of high and low culture, this production knows that they are equal.
The production is great across the board. The story and lyrics by Leoe Mercer are zesty and irrerevant and the cast, all brilliant, are clearly having a lot of fun. Mireille is particularly acute at conveying both Kim’s mercenary artificiality and her real longing for love, whilst Edge is very good on Kris’ bouncing boorishness. Stephen Hyde, also in charge of the music, writes that he took Mozart’s original “melodies … [and] reimagine[d] them as all sorts of music – hip-hop, R&B, musical theatre, film, blues, jazz.” The result is a brilliant concoction, which with Leoe Mercer’s witty lyrics, combines to create a show that provides a lot of laughs and a lot to think about. So much so that you might miss them all the first time around. Best to go see it twice.
Reviewed by Alice Gray
Photography by Shay Rowan
THE MARRIAGE OF KIM K
is at the Arcola Theatre until 29th July and continues throughout August at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe