Congenial and sentimental, A Special Day pays homage to Ettore Scola’s Oscar-nominated film Una Giornata Particolare, with excellent performances and likeable, high-spirited allure.
The play is set on May 8, 1938, the day Hitler met Mussolini in Rome, when Antonietta (Ana Graham) meets her neighbour Mastroianni (Antonia Vega) for the first time. As the day unfolds they strike up and unlikely friendship; she is a plain yet fervent fascist housewife and he is an anti-fascist, radio announcer who has been dismissed due to his "perverted tendencies." Their preposterous, spontaneous, brief encounter, alters both of their outlooks on a multitude of levels. Yet there is no redemption in this sensitively handled drama that has a denouement that is genuinely moving.
Despite being a Mexican production of an Italian film and delivered in English nothing is lost in translation, mainly due to Vega and Graham who deliver great performances. Both have precise timing and presence as they play their characters but also chalk the set onto the blackboard that folds around three sides of the stage. They are not afraid to break the fourth wall or be inventive as they tell their tale with whimsy, gravitas, imagination and serenity.
There is much to admire about A Special Day, which is a beautifully structured, absorbing, and yet, a surprisingly old-fashioned piece of honest theatre.
Por Piedad Teatro & The Play Company present
A SPECIAL DAY
2014 Adelaide Fringe
Venue: Holden Street Theatres – The Arch
Dates: 15 February – 16 March
Time: 8.00 pm (some performances at 9:30 pm
Tickets: $26 – $22
Bookings: www.adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix or at the door 30 minutes before a performance