Theatre Review: Napoli, Brooklyn - Park Theatre, London ✭✭✭

Napoli, Brooklyn 

Park Theatre

Review by Duncan Brown

17/06/19:  The issue of immigration and assimilation is as relevant today as when the European Premiere of this new play was set in 1960, Brooklyn, New York. 
The play tells the story of the Muscolinos, an Italian immigrant family from Napoli with three incredibly passionate daughters, united by a strong love for one another in spite of their very different characters and choices. As a family they struggle to deal with their abusive patriarch and things start to unravel after a dramatic incident towards the end of act one. 

The play is mostly made up of short pithy scenes, which the cast handle well, with efficiently choreographed subtle scene changes though it feels at times as though the writer may have had tv or film in mind. In spite of the speed of the scenes the first half tends have a certain languor to it, maybe because we are in such familiar domestic territory but that all changes after the incident and grips from there on in. 

The cast is uniformly superb with a stand out performance from Madeleine Worrall as mum, Luda, constantly cooking; a metaphor that is used to great effect during the show, as post catastrophe the layers are peeled away, just like her beloved onions. 
There is real malevolence from Robert Cavanah as dad Nic, with some truly shocking and violent scenes that take your breath away as an audience member. 
Hannah Bristow as ‘Cesca excels as a teenager who knows who she is and what she wants and Grace Onitiri gives a performance of great depth and grace as a grieving spouse.  

Though not a great play, it is too over-stuffed with issues and cliches for that, this is an excellent production in terms of direction, design and the wonderfully committed cast that will have you on the edge of your seat and holding your breath at times. 

Three stars ✭✭✭

Photos by Marc Brenner

Listings Info

13 June – 13 July                                     
Park Theatre, London