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Cosi review at White Bear London

Former Neighbours star Mark Little says the joys of maturity include choosing great older roles.

He counts among them Roy in Australian playwright Louis Nowra’s semi-autobiographical account of staging Cosi Fan Tutti in an asylum while the outer madness of the Vietnam War raged.

From the outset, it beats Joe Mangel in Neighbours, but under Adam Spreadbury-Maher’s initially sluggish direction, we waited for the second half until the greatness was apparent and cast and audience alike relaxed into the humour.

Mozart’s sublime opera is theoretically as far removed as possible from maniacs and wasted addicts, but a common concern with love and fidelity and Roy’s irrepressible passion for the masterpiece bind them.

Little inhabits, rather than merely acts the part, bounding about in half-mast trousers and waving his arms in camp theatricality. Compared with the other inmates, he is sane, but sanity is always relative. Assured acting across the cast paints convincing portraits of characters on the edge, whose outbursts seem not much more extreme than those many of us can deliver.

The real shock is when villain of the piece Joel Elferink as Nick, the supposed superior to the too-mild director Lewis (Matthew Burton), dares to mock the lunatics when the triumph of the play is to only laugh with them.

Production Information

White Bear, London, July 29-Aug 24

Author
Louis Nowra
Director
Adam Spreadbury-Maher
Producer
Good Night Out
Cast includes
Mark Little, Matthew Burton, Tess Butler, Joel Elferink, Mackenzie Scott, David Price, Monique Benoiton, Neil Summerville, Nathan Godkin
Running time
2hrs 45mins
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