Family Voices (The Cannoli Mob)

familyvoices1Venue: University of Notre Dame (Sydney NSW), Oct 2 – 6, 2013
Playwright: Harold Pinter (adapted by Vivian Tselios)
Director: Vivian Tselios
Actors: Adriano Cianfarani, Frances Attard, Nicola Said, Simon Boileau, Susan M Kennedy

Theatre review
In The Cannoli Mob’s Family Voices, production design plays a big part in conveying a sense of stifling and oppressive gloom. These are characters that exemplify English restraint, and the set, while good-looking, effectively communicates that sense of formality and austerity. It is also provides versatility, giving the play a surprising multi-dimensionality in spite of the small stage.

Vivian Tselios’ direction retains the abstraction in Pinter’s words, which gives the show a slightly surreal quality that is alluring and strangely enjoyable. The actors successfully depict an intriguing universe, even though their individual abilities do vary. Adriano Cianfarani plays the lead role, and brings an interesting “narrator” sensibility as though he is never quite present in his own world, which adds to the surreal feel of the show. Although the play does not seem to explicitly discuss locality, Cianfarani’s accent is distracting, and contradicts with the Englishness of Pinter’s writing. Simon Boileau’s appearance is a gift to the aesthetics of the production. On a visual level, he adds a lot to the sophistication of the work, and his acting is also most accomplished of the group. He has a daring and mischievousness that connects well with the audience.

This is a sensitive work that is quiet and thoughtful. The theme of miscommunication in the play is challenging at times, but it has an unusual visceral kind of beauty that envelopes the theatre while its audience listens in and ponders the nature of relationships and parenthood.