Mimma – The Musical
CAST: Sir David Suchet, musical theatre stars Louise Dearman, Celinde Schoenmaker and John Owen-Jones and opera stars Ashley Riches and Elena Xanthoudakis
Having been involved in earlier stages of this developing Musical – Mimma – “A musical of War & friendship” Elena was thrilled to be involved to play a strong female lead, based on the Italian Resistance fighter Ada Gobetti and wife of anti-fascist Journalist Piero Gobetti.
The story centres around a young Italian journalist ‘Mimma’ who is sent to London to escape fascism under the rule of Mussolini. In London, staying with her uncle, and Soho club owner, Lorenzo, she forms a friendship with an aspiring jazz singer, Sarah Parker – the action taking place under the looming threat of World War II. The Scenes and Musical styles switch back and forth from her family’s Resistance fighting in Turin and a mostly Operatic style, to the darkening atmosphere experienced in Soho, as war looms and is declared – featuring Jazzy and musical theatre inspire tunes, to melancholic and emotional ballads as Mimma and her uncle are taken away to the camps as prisoners for deportation.
A piece with a huge number of catchy tunes by Ron Siemiginowski, in a variety of styles, artfully captured by Richard Balcombe’s arrangements, brought to vivid life by the BBC Concert orchestra – Mimma is an ambitious work, and an important historical perspective of London and UK sentiment, positive and negative, during and around the Blitz, as well highlighting other often forgotten historical narratives, such as as the long-beleaguered struggles of Italian anti-fascists, many years before war took hold, to the fate of UK thousands of deportees, whose boats, sunken on their way to their new homes another tragedy of seemingly endless horrors of the war.
The timing of the Ukrainian/Russian conflict and recent events only strengthens the need for this work to have been seen – and Mimma undoubtedly touched many hearts that evening for many reasons – with many moved to tears throughout the evening.
Excerpts of Elena’s reviews can be found here