Robert Jones' set design for Filumena is a beautiful Neapolitan courtyard but it is the only thing remotely Italian about this production. The premise of the former prostitute feigning near-death to persuade her lover to marry her is initially very funny and the attempt to introduce her three sons into the household should be funnier, but it all flounders on a complete lack of Mediterranean passion. Samantha Spiro has been much praised elsewhere but her Filumena reminded me of a Jewish Felicity Kendall and I had to look at the programme to check that Geoffrey Freshwater had not been replaced by Kenneth Cranham as a highly cliched old retainer. Filumena offers a couple of hours of cosy amusement but we have come to expect more than that from the Almeida. - David Baxter
03 May 12
I first saw Filumena in the West End in 1977 in a Zeffirelli production starring Joan Plowright – though I didn’t really know who Zeffirelli and Plowright were! Samantha Spiro at the Almeida makes a great Filumena and Clive Wood is an excellent Domenico. Robert Jones’ vast set is so realistic it looks fake (all those artificial plants!). Somehow though the play doesn’t seem that good now. There’s an implausibility to the story of a prostitute who ‘goes native’ but never manages to bag her man, even using the parentage of her sons as bait. A good production, but I’m not sure the play has stood the test of time. - Gareth James
02 May 12
What a wonderful surprise - to walk away from the Almeida with a smile on my face following a play with a happy ending!
Brilliant production. Great set - must go back to Italy - excellent casting. - ScotinLondon
25 Mar 12
I agree with just about everything Michael says in his review. I do think it's a little more entertaining than he suggests, but otherwise, he's dead right. :) - steveatplays
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