Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

The Miracle at Naples

Just a quick review: we spent yestereve joining hfcougar and a couple of other folks at a performance of The Miracle at Naples, a fine bit of perioid (if not period) comedy.

The plot is straightforward: in 1580s Naples, young Flaminia is looking for love; her governess Francescina is trying to keep her chaste for marriage. A traveling Commedia troupe arrives in town. Romantic hijinks ensue.

Broadly speaking, the play is itself a commedia show, sometimes screamingly so -- not improvised, but with a very familiar cast of characters. Indeed, while the two ladies are the only ones whose names match our usual characters, most match quite easily to the archetypes we're used to: there's a Pedrolino type with an Arlecchino as his sidekick, the Captain, and so on. The outer characters and scenario are actually more like I Sebastiani in flavor than the internal play within the play is.

Overall, it's quite a good time. Generally funny, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, with sharp dialog and the sort of good over-the-top acting that I associate with commedia. The one big difference is that this play isn't *just* funny: it occasionally gets quite serious in its exploration of life and love, and whipsawed the audience from time to time -- there were several places where the audience was still giggling before it sunk in that things had just turned quite a bit darker.

Note that this production is *seriously* ribald -- on a par with the rudest ICOD shows of yore. No actual nudity on stage, but definitely R-rated for language and subject matter.

Anyway, it's playing for another month, and it's worth seeing. (But I do recommend reading the notes in the Playbill before the show starts: without its explanation of the Miracle of San Gennaro, I would have been rather at sea about what everyone was talking about...)
Tags: reviews

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