A/V Room









Cosi fan Tutte tastic!

Review by Emma Whitelaw

WHEN life poses one of its many challenges, it pays to be a little insane. Lewis Nowra’s playful comedy Cosi, now playing at the Bridewell Theatre is a classic case of life imitating art imitating insanity.

Based in the 70s, during the Vietnam War, we find an eclectic mix of would-be thespians in a burned out theatre somewhere deep in the heart of Melbourne, Australia.

Actors are always seen to be slightly eccentric, but these aren’t your normal fame-crazed wannabes. There’s a pyromaniac, a junkie, a knife-wielding romantic, a confused realist, a lithium-addicted pianist who hates Mozart and a stuttering ex-lawyer who refuses to take part in the production.

But like any aspiring young actors they all have their hearts in the right place; as long as they have their medication, that is!

Gareth Howells plays Lewis, the enthusiastically naïve director of this troop of mental patients. Fresh from university, Lewis has no idea what he is in for when he meets with social-worker, Justin, played by Steven Anstee.

Justin tells Lewis that the plan is to bring the patients out of their shells through the therapy of theatre. Lewis supposedly can do whatever he pleases, which is all good and well until he meets ringleader and opera buff, Roy.

Gareth Richardson is fantastic as the effervescent Roy. His enthusiasm borders on tyranny, yet it is his very passion that brings both the cast and the play to life – against all odds.

It is Roy’s dream to do Mozart’s classic, Cosi fan Tutte, a musical of love, fidelity and mistaken identity. Despite Lewis’ objections that a play by Bertolt Brecht would be far easier, the cast decide upon Mozart.

The events that follow are riotous. The more we learn of each character, the more we grow to love their insanity.

Michael King is superb as the cat-burning Doug, having been released from the confinement of Ward C, Doug wreaks havoc upon the production, setting fire to the theatre on more than one occasion.

Rob Carroll plays Zac, the pianist, who takes one too many pills and passes out before the curtain even goes up.

And Andrew Beynon plays Henry, the failed lawyer, who apparently doesn’t speak yet does the unthinkable and mentions Macbeth!

Despite these setbacks, and in the face of adversity, the cast somehow triumph and the show is a tremendous success by all accounts.

The experience does wonders for all involved and their lives will never be the same again.

Everyone loves a tale about an underdog and Cosi is most certainly no exception!

Cosi by Lewis Nowra and directed by Andrew Miller. Starring Amber Moelter, Gareth Howells, Philip Leamon, Gareth Richardson, Steven Anstee, Michael King, Andrew Beynon, Natasha Magigi, Alex McTavish, Fiona Putnam and Rob Carroll. October 5 - 30 at The Bridewell Theatre, Bride Lane (off Fleet Street) London EC4. Box Office 020 7936 3456.

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z