BWW Review: CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN, Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Set on the Greek Island Cephalonia in 1941, Captain Corelli's Mandolin is adapted for the stage from Louis De Bernieres' 1994 novel. Captain Corelli is a charming young Italian officer who is stationed on the island and eventually charms the locals.
Pelagia (Madison Clare) is a young woman on the island who is engaged to Mandras (Ashley Gayle), a local fisherman. When he doesn't reply to her letters while he is away at war, she realises she no longer loves him. Which is when Captain Corelli (Alex Mugnaioni) enters. It's a love story at heart and it becomes pretty obvious early on where this is going.
This production is stylish but sluggish. There's no denying that the play has been inventively adapted for the stage and the projections are used well during the battle scenes. The novel spans fifty years which is tricky to show onstage and parts of the story felt rushed while others were needlessly drawn out. The plot is predictable and the dialogue feels contrived.
One element of the play that I really appreciated was the way gunfire and explosions were used. I tend to be quite jumpy so nothing makes my heart sink like seeing the warnings of gunshots on the way into the auditorium. While the piece is set during the war and the gunfire is frequent it isn't excessively loud or particularly startling.
I felt that I definitely missed out having not read the book before seeing the play as I suspect it stayed faithful to the original text. Although the staging is stunning I found it hard to connect with the story or the characters and as a result, found the play a bit of a chore.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin is at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow until Saturday 29th June.
Photo credit: Marc Brenner