Overview: Better of Italian tradition showcased in extraordinary solo efficiency

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To name Edmonton actor Farren Timoteo multitalented hardly does him justice.

He’s an actor, a powerhouse singer, a talented author, and an completed clown, and his solo present is fastidiously constructed to showcase all his talents.

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Made in Italy, co-presented by Theatre Calgary and Alberta Theatre Tasks, is a mashup of the basic immigrant story with an equally basic father and son battle state of affairs.

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In 1970, Salvatore Mantini left his village in Italy to come back to work on the railway in Jasper. He labored onerous so he might purchase a home and furnishings earlier than sending for his spouse and son, however his spouse died so it was his brother and sister-in-law who introduced Francesco to Jasper. Salvatore tried to carry up his son as in the event that they had been nonetheless in Italy, which meant Francesco was teased and bullied for being an outsider, a resentment that continued to construct till Francesco, in his early 20s, moved to Edmonton and altered his identify to Frank Martin.

Timoteo is a tremendous mimic so when he performs greater than a dozen characters, he provides all of them distinct vocal and bodily mannerisms. For example his fast change artistry, Timoteo treats the viewers to a dinner hosted by his father telling a joke and not using a punch line, his uncle bragging about being the perfect storage door maker in Jasper, his aunt scolding her husband for ingesting and speaking an excessive amount of, and a widowed neighbour complaining about her swollen leg. Francesco narrates the chaos for the viewers, zipping between chairs, gliding effortlessly and shortly into every new persona. It’s only one hilarious instance of Timoteo’s ability at impersonations.

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Theatre Calgary
Farren Timoteo within the Theatre Calgary-Alberta Theatre Tasks co-production of Made in Italy. Picture, Moonrider Productions/Arts Membership jpg

Salvatore was understandably proud to be taught Francesco had a ravishing voice so he made the son sing Italian opera and church hymns wherever and each time attainable. This offers Timoteo the chance to sing opera in a wealthy tenor, swap right into a pitch-perfect falsetto to cowl the Bee Gees’ Extra Than a Lady, and ultimately croon in grand Sinatra fashion as an Edmonton lounge singer.

Timoteo’s comedian timing is impeccable. He can nail a punchline with the identical dexterity as he executes a pratfall, and the play provides him ample alternative to do each. When Francesco discovers the Rocky motion pictures, he sees a solution to get again at his tormentors, however which means he has to train his means from being a 97-pound weakling to an Italian stallion with fists of fury. This transformation, in addition to a change right into a disco king, gives Timoteo with the chance to strut his bodily comedy expertise, to the raucous delight of the viewers.

When the Mantini household returns to Italy for a go to, Timoteo releases his internal clown as Francesco learns to put on tight new shirts and slacks and strut his newfound sexuality, however it’s when Francesco exhibits how he types his hair for an evening in town again in Canada, that Timoteo actually throws warning and decorum to the wind with riotous outcomes.

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For example his dramatic chops, Timoteo exhibits how Francesco’s petulance and anger create a rift between son and father. It’s certainly one of a number of highly effective and heart-wrenching moments in his tour de power efficiency.

Timoteo is aware of the right way to construction a solo present for optimum impact, permitting him to maintain his viewers royally entertained for 2 acts. His writing is as spectacular as his efficiency.

Director Daryl Cloran makes use of the magnificent desk that designer Cory Sincennes has given him. It’s like a stage upon a stage, and he has Timoteo up there dancing, exercising and crooning. Celeste English’s lighting highlights not solely Timoteo however some vital images on the again wall. It is a manufacturing as slick and artistic as it’s useful.

Made in Italy is not only wildly entertaining however informative. You’ll find out how finest to curse in Italian, which saints to name upon for particular wants, what pasta fagioli soup is, and why it is best to eat your salad on the finish of a meal. You get to do all of it and snigger for 2 hours, because the visitor of the terribly gifted Farren Timoteo.

Made in Italy performs on the Martha Cohen Theatre till Nov. 11.

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