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Theatre Review by Leonard Miller
What: Le Beatrici
Where: Eolian Hall, Lygon St, Carlton
When: 21st -15th May
Presented by the Societa Isole Eolie
Written by Stefano Benni
Directed by Laurence Strangio
Performed by Rosa Campagnaro and Margherita Peluso
Music by Lewis Coleman
Stefano Benni is a contemporary Italian (Bolognese) writer with a conscience. Also a novelist, poet and journalist, Benni created Le Beatrici to provide opportunities for Italian actresses on stage. In presenting these exciting monologues, which explore our complex and troubled society through the eyes of contemporary women, the Societa Isole Eolie is both honouring the authorís intent and fulfilling their mission to promote Italian and Eolian culture.
Nestled in a residential strip of terrace houses opposite the Carlton cemetery on Lygon Street, the grand facade of the hall is unexpected. Inside is a generous foyer area with a bar and kitchen. The atmosphere is warm and the welcome is sincere. Entering the hall, there is a large sprung floor and the space is curtained off half way. Chairs line two sides facing Rosa Campagnaro as Danteís heroine, Beatrice, who is seated at her desk. She is vexed and saucy and Campagnaro is skilled in her delivery.
This is followed by the second offering of Suor Filomena. Margherita Pelusoís performance as a highly disturbed nun is riveting. She demonstrates a command of physical comedy rarely seen. Indeed, both actors demonstrate the strength of their commedia dellíarte training and give assured and confident performances. The third piece is a monologue shared by the two which is hysterical.
Laurence Strangio has a knack with presenting European works for an Australian audience. With Le Beatrici he has let the performances speak for themselves. There is no set and few lighting effects. Lewis Colemanís guitar fits right in; it was well paced and gave movement and ambiance to the works.
A bawdy night of excellent physical comedy, the heavy Italian language content didnít impede my enjoyment of the expert clowning of these two professionals. An unexpected treat.
4.5 stars