Review: Inch of Your Life: Episode 2/The Middle Part (The Theatre Circuit)

Part 2 of this hilarious dramedy is “relatable”, and “nuanced”, at the Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto

The Catelli’s are back in black, white and red in the second part of The Theatre Circuit‘s three-part made-for-the-stage dramedy series: Inch of Your Life. I had the pleasure of reviewing the “pilot episode” and have recently been blessed with a second pair of tickets to Episode 2/The Middle Part.

Let’s start from the beginning. Inch of Your Life is a three-part play, penned by playwright/director, Massimo Pagliaroli and performed by a stellar cast of young actors. The “series” follows three brothers; Sam (Johnathan Sconza), Eddie (Luis Fernandes) and Nick Catelli (Jack Everett) and all the drama that tends to boil up in a high-strung Italian-Canadian family. Sam is the youngest, a straight-laced, over-achieving metro-bro who’s tragically misunderstood. Nick, the middle child, survives on mooching alone and Eddie, a modern-day mobster is their shining example of a big brother.

Inch of Your Life: Episode 2/The Middle Part, very much plays out like a TV show. Each scene goes out with a bang followed by the kind of plunky transition music you’d find on any network sitcom. Pagliaroli has written a play for the Netflix generation…if there was such a thing as “binge-worthy’ theatre…this is it.

The second installment of this three-part show welcomes the addition of the colour “red”, while the pilot episode employs only black and white. My guest and I, having seen the first installment; found this to be a very cool attention to detail. Details like a bright red handkerchief hanging out of an actor’s back pocket, strings of red cafe-style lights thoughtfully dangling above the audience and a flickering movie screen lighting special were very much appreciated and especially impressive considering the indie-nature of the production.

And yes, the cast is simply stunning. Each player brings their own brand of humour and personal touch to their role which is, in my opinion, one of the many reasons why this show has such a special ring to it.

Stand outs include Brandon Knox as Eric Day, the ingenue elementary school teacher who is, may I say…just the cutest darn thing you’ll ever see. He brings a sincere innocence to the stage that makes for some incredibly funny moments. The scene where he’s wedged in between two bad-ass, jacked up guidos in Eddie Catelli (Luis Fernandes) and Gus Lo Primo (Antonino Pruiti) is comedy gold.

Speaking of, both Fernandes and Pruiti own the stage like a couple of divos. Their scenes together are always full of energy and passion, you know…the Italian kind. Alex Clay graces us with deadpan wit as no-nonsense casting director Luke Richmond and Giovanna Pandullo brings the fire and then some as whip-quick Sylvia Moretti, a girlfriend on a mission to the altar.

Writer/Director, Pagliaroli has drafted out some incredibly hilarious characters here, but make no mistake, these kooky Italians have a lot more to offer than just meatball jokes. Every single character has something they’re fighting for; Nick Catelli (Jack Everett) wants to connect with his baby brother, Jill Preston (Ceridwen Kingstone) wants to become an actress while proving her parents wrong and Sam (Johnathan Sconza) just wants to get a job, on his own terms. We’re now left with a group of characters that are not only incredibly entertaining, but are relatable, nuanced and layered…like a lasagna (sorry, I had to).

Since I did see the pilot episode a couple of months ago, my expectations were at an all time high going into this second part and let me tell you…they were absolutely met…maybe even exceeded? After watching the second installment of Inch of Your Life, my guest and I spent the remainder of the afternoon hashing out our theories, wondering what’s going to happen next. We’ll see you at the next show.

Details:

Photo of Alex Clay, Jack Everett, Luis Fernandes, Ceridwen Kingstone, Brandon Knox, Giovanna Pandullo, Antonino Pruiti and Jonathan Sconza provided by the company. 

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