Of the dozens of plays Eduardo de Filippo wrote, set in his native Naples, The Syndicate can surely not be the best; but with Ian McKellen playing the principal character (an illiterate murderer-made-good, who plays God), it makes for great entertainment. With friends, we went to see it last evening.
I'm normally not too fond of either plays in translation or black comedy, but despite the irredeemably English setting of the Malvern Theatre, there was something splendid about this production. McKellen and the rest of the cast wisely avoid any attempt at Italian accents or even many gestures, but the mood is well created by both the elaborate set and an unusually large cast - which perhaps explains the high ticket prices. Our plans for a picnic on the theatre lawn were scuppered by some very non-Neapolitan rain.