Angela’s Kitchen

GRIFFIN THEATRE: 'Angela's Kitchen' celebrates the life of Paul Capsis' Maltese grandmother, her journey to Australia and all which she overcame.
Angela’s Kitchen
Sometimes, the impact of certain people, events and our memories of them, are such an important part of our life that we feel the need to share our story with as many people as possible, and through the most effective means available to us. Not only does it help us ‘come to terms’ with the significance of these people and events, it also celebrates them and makes it possible to enrich the lives of others through them. Paul Capsis and Julian Meyrick have achieved this with their one-man play Angela’s Kitchen, the story of Paul’s Maltese grandmother, her journey with her family to Australia after the Second World War, and Paul’s youth in Surry Hills. It is an essentially nostalgic yet straight-forward presentation of significant episodes in the relationship between Capsis and her nannu, though there is also plenty of humour and enjoyable raucousness on the way. A powerful combination of distant memories, childhood stories, hilarious family impersonations, emotional retellings of life-defining moments and evocative descriptions of Maltese settings make this a brilliantly conceived play which provides immediate gratification but also manages to stay with the viewer for long after it has finished. It is a story through which real life is made into art, and in which everybody can find at least a little bit of them (and some will certainly relate to it in great measure). Capsis also takes us on his own journey back to Malta to discover where he is from, and who he is. In the play’s opening scene, he vividly describes everything about his arrival there, not only the physical environment but his feelings and conflicting thoughts-a brilliant mood-setter for what is to follow. His stagecraft throughout is emotionally engrossing, endearing and entertaining. By the end of the evening, a feeling of tremendous respect towards this artist is inevitable, because in Angela’s Kitchen he is on stage opening his heart to his audience, exposing himself to some of his most intimate feelings, asking questions of himself and searching for the answers right there in front of us. The SBW Stables Theatre, home of the Griffin Theatre Company, is an excellent venue for this production - a cozy, intimate theatre in which even those in the back row can see every expression on Capsis’ face. Dramatically clever and visually simple direction from Julian Meyrick, and realistic designs from Louise McCarthy, allow Capsis and his words to always be the focus of attention, though Lighting Designer Verity Hampson, Sound Designer Alister Spence and Audio-Visual Designer Steve Toulmin also combined forces to create intense moments of aural and visual stimulation to complement the play’s dramatic concept. From a socio-cultural artistic perspective, Angela’s Kitchen is a great micro-study of a defining aspect of Australian cultural history (immigration during the middle of the twentieth century), which makes it a great “ambassador work” to hopefully produce in Europe and, of course, Malta itself. It is a movingly written, brilliantly performed expression of a man’s love and respect for his emotional and physical origins. Angela’s Kitchen, by Paul Capsis and Julian Meyrick, starring Paul Capsis Season: 11 November – 18 December For more information on Angela's Kitchen visit the ArtsHub Events page.

Paulo Montoya

Monday 29 November, 2010

About the author

Paulo Montoya is an opera lover from Sydney. He is 25 years old and recently won the Pacific Opera Young Critics Award for his review of their production of Hansel and Gretel.