Review by: Paul Towers, 18/04/19
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres, adapted by Rona Munro
Directed by Melly Still
A Rose Theater, Kingston and Birmingham Rep co-production
Curve 13 – 20 April 2019 and then touring
“a 3 hanky tear-jerker”
When the novel of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was first published in 1994 it was a moderate hit, especially with readers of romantic fiction. However it was the film starring Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz that cemented its reputation as a 3 hanky tear-jerker. The stage version has lost none of its emotional pull and, along with vivid depictions of the war in the Greek island of Cephallonia, you walk away drained.
Dr Iannis lives on the beautiful, peaceful island with his daughter, Pelagia, who is being courted by fisherman, Mandras. All things being equal she will eventually marry her fisherman and live fairly happily ever after.
But, this being 1941, war looms ever nearer as Italy and Germany invade the island with devastating effect. Many of the locals are killed, Mandras has gone off to fight and Pelagia falls, against her better judgement, for the handsome Italian Captain, Corelli. As with all the best romances difficulties stand between the lovers but it all sorts itself out in the end.
A stellar cast is led by Madison Clare as Pegalia, Ryan Donaldson as Carlo, Ashley Gayle as Mandras and Joseph Long as Dr Iannis. In the title role of Caprain Corelli is Alex Mugnaioni. The ensemble are almost balletic in their manoeuvres as they change the props and play the various villagers and soldiers.
Much needed lightness is provided by Luisa Guerreiro as the goat (you have to be there!) and Elizabeth Mary Williams as a pine martin (I know, but again you need to see it)
The staging is simple but very effective. A large crumpled sheet of metal hangs just above the stage providing an innovative surface for various lighting effects which compliment the visceral sounds of war and earthquake.
For anyone who is a fan of either the book or the film this is a must see production and continues to tour til at least June. Full details at www.CaptainCorellisMandolin.com