The Little World of Don Camillo

Valvona and Crolla, Edinburgh

> Valvona and Crolla, Edinburgh

There was always a distinctive classy feel to the storytelling by Mike Maran.

His was the touching biography of Mahler at the Norwich Playhouse - with the composer's complete works arranged for small ensemble and the schmaltzy sense of romance.

The Little World of Don Camillo offered a similarly superior musical score performed by Colin Steele (trumpet) and Martin Green (accordion) and featuring the likes of Verdi. But instead of schmaltz, it was nostalgia and love of Italy that filled the air.

Don Camillo is the priest in the small town in the years which follow the second world war. His quietly humorous adventures with dogs, statues and the village band serve not only as a vehicle for a series of character sketches but also for a depiction of the wider political situation which rent Italy at the time: the stand-off between the Communists an the Catholics and the Americans shoving in their oar.

For Mike Maran, whose family emigrated from Italy to Scotland at this period, Don Camillo's tales become almost like his own history; although in fact he and Philip Contini adapted them from the works of Italian author and journalist Giovanni Guareschi.

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A show which felt like reading a good book - you were always longing to turn the next page.

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