Captain Corelli’s Mandolin @ Harold Pinter Theatre*

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Tickets and more information: http://www.captaincorellismandolin.com/
Booking until: 31st August 2019
Production Photos by: Marc Brenner
Run time: 2hr 50 mins.

Going into Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, I only knew a couple of things about it. 1) this production has been on a successful tour around the UK. 2) They actually lost the mandolin at one point. 3) This is an adaptation of a very popular book, so the leap to a stage adaptation was pretty organic at this point. But I felt ready enough to go into this play with an open mind.

Madison Clare as Pelagia & Alex Mugnaioni as Captain Corelli in Captain Corelli's Mandolin credit Marc Brenner

Firstly, it’s long. It is 100% too long. Things just kept happening with no sign of ending. It got to the point where me and my friend just stopped caring and we just wanted it to end. Add that on top of being in a theatre that was as hot as a sauna and you’ve got two annoyed audience members. And then, you’ve got the main bulk of the story which does not happen until act 2. The play is supposed to be about the title character and his mandolin, a young Italian officer, falling for Pelagia (a young woman on the Greek island the forces have occupied because, after all – this is WAR), but he (and his mandolin) don’t even come into the play until act 2. Act 1 is basically it’s own play about Pelagia’s relationship with a young man on the island Mandras, who goes off to join the war. I can see writer Rona Munro was trying to do here, showing how the war can break relationships as well as make them. But, I do wish it just take the shortcut rather than going round all the houses.

The company of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, credit Marc Brenner (2)

The cast work well as an ensemble, although the using actors as animals trope became very overused, very quickly. I must also commend the really stunning use of video/projection design by Dom Baker paired with the lighting design by Malcolm Rippeth which heightened the atmosphere of some scenes. I also think some of the movement, directed by George Siena, was really beautiful but because it wasn’t consistent, made for uneven viewing.

Overall, this is a piece that’s too long, stuck in a theatre that’s too hot and might be worth your investment if you already know the story. To be frank, this should’ve been a 2 part episodic mini series rather than one long and boring play.

Until next time

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