La Cucina (SouthPawScripts) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

La CucinaLa Cucina is playing at Factory Theatre Studio as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Playwright John Bressan’s first play, it’s set in Italy and has four acts. The characters include a bastard child; an aunt who killed herself, her husband, and said child by driving head on into a truck; Italian partisan fighters; and a Nazi officer. Not all of them appear on stage.

It’s a bit busy.

Elio’s father immigrated to Canada in the early 50s . In 1983 Elio goes to Italy and buys the family farm. He renovates it and discovers the answer to a family mystery.

As well as writing the piece, Bressan played two of the roles, the lawyer Bruno Salvador in the scenes set in the 80s and the father, Primo, in the scene set during the war. His performance was fine except there were two big distractions for me.

He wore a really bad wig as Primo. I couldn’t stop staring at it. When something like that holds my attention it means that I’m not connecting with the play.

He played both parts – Bruno and Primo – with a very strong Italian accent. It was a good accent and he maintained it well. The issue for me is that none of the other actors playing Italians used Italian accents. It seemed like a disconnect.

I have a thing about actors and accents. I would rather an actor not do an accent if the alternative is that they do a bad accent. Or if they can’t maintain the accent. The Nazi officer was the only other actor doing an accent and he maintained his German accent for about half of his scene but then reverted to a Canadian accent.

My overall impression is that Bressan can write and that he can act and that I would like to see him write a less complicated play set in Canada.


  • La Cucina plays at the Factory Theatre Studio. (125 Bathurst St)
  • Tickets are $12 at the door and in advance, and can be bought online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s Alley, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warning: Mature Language.
  • This venue is NOT wheelchair-accessible.


  • Saturday July 2nd, 01:45 pm
  • Monday July 4th, 04:45 pm
  • Tuesday July 5th, 06:30 pm
  • Thursday July 7th, 12:00 pm
  • Friday July 8th, 10:30 pm
  • Sunday July 10th, 05:45 pm







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