Saturday, July 13

The Finellis – Wonderville 

“The Finellis” based on the 2022 movie of the same name, is a vibrant musical that tells the compelling story of Tony Finelli, portrayed by Mark Janicello, who strives to reintegrate into his family’s life after a 15-year prison stint. Janicello delivers a convincing performance as the ex-felon Tony, grappling with reconnecting with his distant children and his ex-wife, who has moved on, all whilst being pursued by the relentless Mafia boss Mr Big, played by Michael Cristopher. 

The musical kicks off with an energetic start, filled with singing, dancing, and catchy tunes that keep the audience engaged. The pace is brisk, ensuring that there are no dull moments. The ensemble cast, although small, demonstrates remarkable versatility and chemistry, with most actors taking on dual roles. This diversity adds depth to the performance, showcasing their impressive range and synchronisation. 

Despite encountering some minor technical issues during the opening performance, the actors maintained their professionalism. Their seamless interaction with the audience amidst these difficulties blurred the lines between the scripted and impromptu, leaving viewers wondering if it was part of the act. This minor issue did not affect the performance in the slightest and it is great to see how actors manage to maintain professionalism when a problem occurs.  

The musical is rich with songs, featuring excellent vocal performances from each cast member. If you’re a fan of song-heavy musicals, “The Finellis” won’t disappoint. However, the abundance of ballads may not appeal to everyone. Chiara de Palo, as Nonna, stands out with her comedic timing, infusing humour into the performance and her musical numbers. 

The set design is minimalistic, small and it heavily relies on a backdrop screen to depict various locations. This approach allows for swift scene changes but sometimes sacrifices realism, making the experience akin to watching a television show rather than a live performance.  

The second act takes a more serious turn, exploring themes of self-discovery, family, protection, and love. Although it briefly touches on some darker themes, it quickly pivots back to comedy. The seamless transition back to comedy helps maintain the audience’s engagement and prevents the story from becoming too heavy, allowing for moments of levity and humour to shine through amidst the more serious undertones. 

Overall, “The Finellis” is an enjoyable and entertaining production, boasting strong performances, lively music, and skilled acting. Whilst the dancing segments are brief, the show’s energy and execution make it a worthwhile experience for musical enthusiasts. The balance of humour, heartfelt moments, and catchy songs ensures a fun-filled evening for all. 

Reviewer: Zain Russell 

Reviewed: 3rd June 2024 

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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