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The Finellis | Wonderville

Based on the movie of the same name, The Finellis is a new musical delving into the life of Tony Finelli, as he readjusts to the world after a 15 year stint in jail for a crime that he didn't commit. This is no easy feat though, as seemingly everything has changed in that time. With kids to re-establish relationships with, a wife to win back and a mafia boss to take down, this is a jam packed show, which is ultimately one of its biggest downfalls.


Mark Janicello reprises his movie role of Finelli, with booming vocals which are rich beyond the demands of the score. The second act is certainly stronger than the first, with Janicello really finding his stride simultaneously to the character. Playing the title characters daughters, Anna Maria and Pippa Juilet are certainly to be celebrated as they provide some of the best performances of the night, with fantastic vocals and committed performances. The ensemble cast are utilised to the max here, where is no easy feat with such a small performing space and a simple projection background to translate the story. For me, they were by far the strongest aspect of the show.


Unfortunately, the story lacks cohesion and doesn't quite flow as well as one would hope. While an awful lot happens (the show easily runs at 2.5 hours), there is a lack of depth due to the volume of narrative points which are crammed in. Some of the best moments happen when we experience moments of genuine connection between characters. Show stand outs include a lovely scene between nightclub owner Eva (Markie Thompson) and Finelli, where she helps him come to terms with the way things have changed in the 15 years since his incarceration. Similarly, a scene between father and daughter wows the audience with a fantastic vocal performance, leaving the audience wanting more of a taste of these unified moments.


While no fault can be given to the actors who continuously provide fantastic vocals and moments of comedy (huge shout out to Chiara de Palo as Nonna), the show is very music heavy and is often used to punctuate the end of a scene, opposed to being seamlessly integrated within the narrative. The phrase ‘bursting into song’ feels right here as, while the music does frequently tell us what is ‘happening’, it sometimes feels shoehorned in for the sake of it, being a musical where songs need to be sang opposed to offering us much more depth or understanding than what could have been said in a few words. 


To summerise, The Finellis is a toe tapping musical but ultimately lacked depth and connection between the family which we spend so much time with as the audience. Some work on the structure could perhaps inject some life into this musical, however, I won’t be promising a return to The Finelli’s home anytime soon. 


The Finellis is on at Wonderville until 16th June. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.

⭐️⭐️ (2*)

Gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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