After the extraordinary success of his Amleto² (Hamlet squared) comes Giuliett’ e Romeo (a loose adaptation of Romeo and Juliet). There are just five characters: the Nurse, Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio and Cupid. Yes Cupid – it’s a very loose adaptation.
As Cupid, Timi comes on as though Jason Bieber had been styled by Pierre et Gilles, with blonde wig (cue references to Italian singer/dancer/gay icon, Raffaella Carrà) and rose-tinted glasses who, between shooting clouds of red paper hearts into the air, mimes to Massimo Ranieri’s 60s hit Se bruciasse la città.
Timi appeared to have been plucked from a holiday village entertainment, but his faithful fans nevertheless rewarded him with shrieks, over-the-head applauding, and hysterical laughter. Rather like the OTT reactions of friends of the tourist who gets up on stage in an ill-fitting costume at a holiday village, I suppose. Four-minutes of Ranieri later, Timi started corpsing, laughing at his own jokes, and producing all those other tics he has, which can be adorable when everything else is disciplined and impressive. It wasn’t. It just looked as though he hadn’t had enough time to rehearse. The ‘play’ lasted an hour.
The funny and moving Amleto², and the provocative Favola (which is at Teatro Franco Parenti from next week) are rich theatre pieces, crammed full of ideas. Impoverished Giuliett’ e Romeo is feeble by comparison, even with the efforts of the four excellent actors who share the stage with Timi, and make the most of their material.
Timi’s regular stage companion, who is in all three of the current run of plays, is Lucia Mascino who plays the vulgar earth-motherly nurse with bravura. She is one of the finest actors on the Italian stage. Luca Rondolini and Vittoria Chiacchiella play the vapid central couple who giggle and blush together, and manage to get every nuance out of their lines. Fruity-voiced Mauro F. Cardinali plays a middle-aged Mercutio who, after Cupid fires his little hearts into the sky, falls desperately in love with the nurse, causing his rich bass to jump up by a couple of octaves. The ideas are there, but they need developing.
So, what to think of Filippo Timi? Well he’s fascinating, and lovable, and over-flowing with talent, but he needs to be reigned in. He can be excellent, so he shouldn’t be anything less.
26–31 July 2012 – Favola