Mimma the Musical at Cadogan Hall
Mimma is a musical about the relationship between two women from very different backgrounds: a journalist from Turin and a singer from London. Directed by Luke Fredericks, it covers the years 1938 to 1952 and the turmoil that was experienced in the world at that time. It is a story of war, family and how friendship can transcend conflicts between nations, enduring the test of time.
The musical begins with Alfredo Frassati, played by Sir David Suchet, taking off his cap, signalling the distraught lifeboat scene where Lorenzo (played by John Owen-Jones) loses his life. The juxtaposition of this trauma with the great party that follows sets the tone. At times, the turbulent nature of the show would be hard to follow had it not been for the narrative expertise of Suchet, guiding the audience through the events as they unfolded.
One of the most exciting aspects was the three-dimensional staging: the use of projections of each new place visited, a live orchestra and an ever-present cast on stage. This added to the story-telling medium established through Suchet’s character, and coupled with the immaculate vocals of Louise Dearman playing Sarah, really made for an engaging watch. However, due to technical difficulties with the sound, and the often forced accents, it was difficult to decipher some of what the other characters were saying and singing, which was a great shame as it made it challenging to follow and meant some audience members left at the interval.
The musicality of this show is one to be remembered, with composer Ron Siemiginowski and librettist Giles Watson’s beautiful odes to Italy in the score. Each piece of music, though different, evoked the sounds of 1930s Italy, often bringing a certain romanticism to each part of the performance. Often, it takes an orchestra to bring a score to life, and thanks to the talents of musical director and orchestrator, Richard Balcombe, coupled with the abilities of the BBC Concert Orchestra, the music was enough to move every person there.
Overall, the retelling of the era of the Second World War and the impact it had on every society around the world was what stood out the most. Due to current world events, it became a tough pill to swallow for the audience, as what would usually be a moment of reflecting on the past became a sobering thought for the future. The timeliness of Mimma’s overarching message will not be quickly forgotten.
Photo: Danny Kaan
Mimma the Musical is at Cadogan Hall on 28th February 2022. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.