By Valentina Zagaria
Tristan Bates Theatre, 1a Tower Street, London WC2H 9NP to 9 August 2014
Runs I hr No interval, till 09 08 14
TICKETS: 0207 240 6283
Review: William Russell 4 August
Island under siege
Devised and performed by Theatre Senza, Miracoli is part of the Camden Fringe and certainly deserves to be seen. The cast of five are impressive in a seemingly endless variety of roles.
The piece – not quite a play, more performance art – is the result of three years research carried out by Valentina Zingaria and her associates into life on Lampedusa, the island in the Mediterranean south of Sicily, which has become landfall of choice for refugees from the turmoil in the countries of Africa.
The team spent some time last year on the island which, until the refugees started arriving and the bodies of those drowned in the attempt started to wash ashore, was a tourist spot with a past as a place for fishermen. Geographically Lampedusa is actually part of Africa which became detached, but it belongs to Italy and is therefore a gateway to a better life in Europe for people in dire straits.
The cast evoke not just the refugees, but the islanders, the coast guards, the doctors, the media commentators.
The piece tells what it is like to be deluged by unwanted invaders, what it does to the tourist trade, to the remnants of the fishing trade and how those who must deal with what is happening cope with all the ensuing problems from media attention to the impact on tourism. It suffers a little from a lack of central drive – the format can become scrappy and the central couple, an old fisherman and his wife, don’t quite ring true – but there is no denying it does conjure up a picture of life in this reluctant gateway to Europe and is an excellent calling card for this new company.
Director: Valentina Zagaria
Costume Designer: Luz Pena
Lighting Designer: Francois Lecomte
Sound operator: Lillah Vial