LIKE MAMMA MADE YOU written and directed by Nikki Pascetta, with Pascetta, Alvaro D'Antonio and Claudio Chiodo. Presented by the GINA Project at the Factory Studio (125 Bathurst). Runs to June 24, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $18-$23, Sunday pwyc/$18. 416-504-9971. Rating: NN Rating: NN
summing up a cultural heritage -- a transplanted cultural heritage, in fact -- in an hour is a difficult task. Writer Nikki Pascetta doesn't succeed, despite moments of illumination and entertainment, in Like Mamma Made You.Developed with fellow performers Alvaro D'Antonio and Claudio Chiodo, Pascetta's script focuses on Rosa Rosario (Pascetta), who sails from Naples in the 50s to settle in Canada, bringing bubbly hopes and a sense of romantic fantasy along with her.
In a series of 17 short scenes, this Fringe-originated piece plays out Rosa's inner and outer life. In the former she has visions of the paradise across the ocean, of being an earthy Italian film star and dancing erotically with Il Bello (Chiodo), her daydream lover. In the latter she's married to Francesco Gallo (D'Antonio), a garden-variety husband who insists on his pasta dinner each day at 5.
On the plus side, Pascetta brings physical sparkle and mobile energy to the series of clown-based episodes, while the other two actors throw themselves strenuously into the work.
But some of the comedy misfires, and the dual-language material repeats the same point about the clash between reality and reverie. It could use sharper direction than Pascetta provides -- she's wearing too many hats for the show -- and more emotional depth. It coasts on charm and comic turns, while a touching folk tale at the end suggests the range it might have had.