THEATRE – The Gods of Strangers – State Theatre – Playhouse – 3.5K

Images by Chris Herzfeld

By Peter Maddern

Set in Port Pirie after the WWII, The Gods of Strangers tells the tales of Greek and Italian families both new and more permanent and the visitors they encounter. The work covers not just their struggles as migrants but of the worlds they have most assuredly left behind.

Italian Assunta (Dina Panozzo) runs a boarding house and welcomes Vito (Renato Musolino) as a guest. Her friend Vasiliki (Deborah Galanos) manages a deli and is unhappily visited by Anna (Eugenia Fragos) bringing Yianni (Philippos Ziakas) into the cross hairs of their pasts.

This tri-lingual work by Elena Carapetis, resident playwright at State Theatre, challenges  even for one so accomplished a director as Geordie  Brookman. While the opening scene is a ripper where Assunta and Vasiliki bicker their way over a board game, the persistent use of sur-titles derogates from the drama as it is unleashed at the opening of the second half. At 150 minutes the work is too long and there are moments, such as the men tussling near the end that strain credulity.

Notwithstanding, Panozzo gives one of the best performances seen on the boards of the Playhouse this year as she switches often from the amorous to the offended perhaps reflecting a lack of complete comfort in her character’s new surroundings. The clash between Vasiliki and Anna gives full opportunity for Galanos and Fragos to strut their stuff which they do with aplomb, while Renato Musolino successfully glides and skips his way across the stage in his own inimitable style.

Kryztoff Rating   3.5K

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