Reviewed by D.M. for The Croydon Advertiser
A nudge in the right direction
Thatre Workshop Coulsdon gave two performances last weekend of Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” and give two more tomorrow.
Just to nudge us in the ribs that this is commedia dell’arte, the street sign bears the legend “Piazza dell’Arte.” But there the resemblance ends.
Keith Walton’s production is cheerful enough, and features a resourceful truffaldino in Nigel Sorensen – light, deft and agreeable.
But of the nimbleness and manic concentration of the old tradition we see nothing. Aside from the swaggering and the swordplay, the piece might as well have been set in Acacia Avenue.
For the famous scene in which Truffaldino brings the two dinners to his two employers we see not so much groaning dishes as empty platters, and largely have to use our imaginations.
The commedia dell’arte, catering to audiences for whom adequate sustenance was a daily hazard, went in for food in a big way, with mounting comic effect.
Terry Sorensen’s Beatrice Rasponi is not nearly dashing enough. Like others in the cast, she seems unwilling to attempt the huge swagger, the zest in exaggeration, that is a hallmark of Goldoni in general and “The Servant” in particular.
Chris Argles, as Pantalone, is rather a dull old gentleman and certainly needed an hour or two longer in the study with his text.
Chris Woolgar is better as Doctor Lombardi, rolling out the Latin tags with a certain relish, and working up to quite a convincing froth of rage.
As Silvio, Marc Weston brings out the lover’s more ridiculous side with some conviction, but the best of the supporting players is Tim Young as the innkeeper Brighella.
Doctor Lambardi, a lawyer
Brighella, an innkeeper
Silvio, son of Lombardi
Pantalone, a rich merchant
Smeraldina, Clarice’s maid
Clarice, daughter of Pantalone
Truffaldino, a servant
Beatrice Rasponi, of Turin
Florindo Aretusi, of Turin
First Porter/Young Waiter
Second Porter/Old Waiter
Technical Crew Details: