“there is so much to praise in director Cimolino’s ensemble it is hard to single out an outstanding performance, but I will try. Over the years, my admiration for the acting brilliance of Tom McCamus has grown. Yet, here in “Napoli Milionaria!,” he has really hit his mark in what could be a career-defining stage characterization of the highest order.”
“Although it opened last in the Festival’s schedule of openings, Napoli milionaria! now becomes the must-see play of the Stratford Festival season. The richness of its realist portrayal of everyday life in Naples in the 1940s is amazing in its complexity of characters, storylines, imagery and emotions. Dominating everything is Tom McCamus’s magnificent portrayal of the play’s central character Gennaro, which alone is reason enough to see this fascinating work.”
“I am still haunted by Tom McCamus’ portrayal of a broken Gennaro sitting quietly, hunched over, seemingly becoming smaller and smaller as the party around him erupts. This image of people being willfully blind to the pain and suffering happening around them is heartbreaking but also incredibly relevant in the world we live in. …
In addition to beautiful performances, this play boasts a stunning set designed by Julie Fox. The entire play takes place in the family home, which changes considerably from one Act to the next to reflect the financial status of the family. “
“It’s a play afloat in contradictions. It is not prepared to judge — but to say that it seeks to understand these flawed characters is not to say that it forgives.
Cimolino’s production, finely tuned to the moral ambiguities of the story, also seeks to examine a particular culture at a particular moment in history — and most importantly — to convey a sense of community, of a warm, vibrant, bustling life. And this world is given further substance and validity by Julie Fox’s costumes and setting, Michael Walton’s lighting and Thomas Ryder Payne’s soundscape.”
” locating the story entirely within the Iovine family home, it also virtually eliminates the context that drives the characters to their supposed moral depravity, primarily that of Gennaro’s wife Amalia (Brigit Wilson) who, through her connection with Errico (Michael Blake), sources black-market food for her neighbours for a marked-up price. Gennaro, a First World War veteran, disapproves but doesn’t intervene…
This Stratford season looks at the implications of the pursuit of freedom, and the black-and-white morality of Napoli Milionaria! feels like an unexpected tone to close on, especially since its marketing places it squarely in the realm of comedy. Cimolino delivers a loving testament to a beloved Italian writer who is relatively unknown in Canada — if only he had saved some of that empathy for all of Eduardo De Filippo’s characters.”
“If Cimolino’s production ultimately only makes the case for Napoli Milionaria! as an intriguing curiosity rather than a world classic worthy of its exclamation point, regular visitors to the Stratford Festival will nevertheless jump at the opportunity to see an international playwright off their beaten path.