Review: TALLY'S BLOOD, Perth Theatre

After a 20-year intermission, the classic Scottish play returns for a national tour.

By: Sep. 25, 2023

Review: TALLY'S BLOOD, Perth Theatre Review: TALLY'S BLOOD, Perth Theatre A frontrunner of Scottish school curricula, Ann Marie Di Mambro’s Tally’s Blood has a bit of everything – history, humour, tragedy, romance and disturbingly contemporary social critiques.

We meet the Pedreschis, an Italian family living in Glasgow during the outbreak of World War II. Uncle Massimo, Aunt Rosinella and Uncle Franco bring up their niece Lucia, who sparks a powerful friendship with local ‘Scotch boy’ Hughie Devlin.

The piece spans across the 1930s to 50s, from a Glaswegian shop to the Italian countryside. We witness romance, war backlash, language barriers, violence, death, racism, sexism, and the unbreakable human connections that withstand it all. Reflective of Di Mambro’s Italian upbringing in Scotland, the piece is immensely heart-warming and authentic, yet not overly gushy. The actors do a phenomenal job of depicting passing time – Craig McLean’s Hughie and Chiara Sparkes’ Lucia slickly transform from tantrum-prone wide-eyed children into fully-grown, starry-eyed young adults.

Fraser Lappin’s set design is simple, effective and undeniably Scotland – sporting staple Glaswegian sandstone walls, we see a recognisable home patio surrounded by multipurpose ginger ale box crates. Glasgow transforms into an Italian villa by replacing double-paned windows with turquoise wooden window shutters. Wayne Dowdeswell’s lights and Hilary Brooks’ sound create a strong sense of atmosphere, particularly during a racist attack on Massimo’s shop.

Under Ken Alexander’s direction, the small cast are phenomenal - yet it is Carmen Pieraccini’s Rosinella who steals the show. Complimented strongly by Andy Clark’s humble Massimo, she is warm and hilarious yet severe and fiery. Through a fused Glaswegian and Italian accent, she presents someone desperately clinging to her Italian roots amid a culture she does not identify with.

Contrastingly, Paul James Corrigan’s Franco identifies as British first and foremost. He brings a charming, likeable ease to the character believably enamoured of Hughie’s sister Bridget (Dani Heron). To Rosinella’s dismay, Franco even enlists in the British army - this contrast of perspectives sparks an important debate: what does it mean to be Scottish? How does one truly ‘assimilate’ into other cultures? What holds us together in a multicultural society and – more pertinently – what drives us apart?

An important must-see at Perth Theatre this month.

Tallys Blood is at Perth Theatre until 30 September.

Photo Credit: Mihaela Bodlovic




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