The second of our Angela’s Kitchen emerging reviewers – the fantastically named, Winsome Walker.
Angela and her five children left Malta in 1948, with nothing but a suitcase, bound for Australia. Although the migrant tale of sacrifice and struggle is a familiar one, Paul Capsis breathes new life into it in the Griffin Theatre 2012 revival of Angela’s Kitchen.
Segmented around a series of snapshots in time and place, Capsis celebrates his relationship with his beloved grandmother Angela, tracing her journey from poverty stricken Malta to her new ‘lucky’ life in Surry Hills.
Developed with director Julian Meyrick and associate writer Hilary Bell, Angela’s Kitchen condenses hours of transcribed conversations and improvisations into a rich eighty minutes of theatre. Much like a home-cooked meal made by your grandmother, Angela’s Kitchen is warm, fulfilling and made with plenty of heart, signifying a welcome return to good ol’ fashion storytelling.
No stranger to the one-man show, Capsis singlehandedly leaps between a host of characters with pitch-perfect precision. Cavorting around a kitchen table, he shifts between his grandmother Angela, thunderous grandfather and chain smoking Aunty Doris. What is most impressive is Capsis’s generosity as a performer. He draws the audience into the intimate space of the Stables, passing around postcards and translating his biting Maltese quips into English.
Like the production itself, the magic of Louise McCarthy’s set – a tessellated linoleum kitchen floor furnished with a table, chairs and cupboard – lies in the delicate details. The compelling monologue is set against a backdrop of Maltese streetscapes and old photographs of loved ones, projected onto the theatre walls. The flawless recitation of Capsis’s sixty-four strong family lineage, accompanied by a projection of the family tree, is a highlight.
Angela’s Kitchen is a beautiful, sincere and immersive piece of theatre, another standout production in Griffin’s stellar 2012 season.
Angela’s Kitchen is sold but you can catch it on tour to Riverside and Merrigong Theatres, among others. Full details here.