Adelaide Fringe 2011
Mussolini – A One Man Political Farce
Higher Ground - Art Base
Mussolini – A One Man Political Farce is a one hour piece that explores the trials and tribulations of Italy’s leader Mussolini. Mussolini is portrayed not only as a notorious dictator, but also as a teacher, lover, Hitler’s puppet and solider. Ross Gurney-Randall has done an impressive job of demonstrating Mussolini’s multifaceted life in one hour of laughter that spans from Mussolini’s youth to his death. Perfect for anyone who appreciates comedy, political satire, and the oratory power of one man on stage with none of the trimmings.
Mussolini – A One Man Political Farce is a one-man show with a minimalist set and barely any props. Actor Ross Gurney-Randall can be commended from the onset for sustaining a one-hour monologue that saw Mussolini transform from a young radical into Italy’s Prime Minister and to his deathbed, whilst paying homage to the mistresses, the tears and the tantrums along the way.
By any account, a play about Mussolini’s life is attempting to encompass a great deal and would frequently be one of grandeur, drama and war. Mussolini challenged this concept from the onset – one man, small room, little to no set and just a couple of props – Mussolini asked us to see the great dictator as a man whose life was filled with very human flaws and failings.
Lighting played a pivotal role in Mussolini as it was the key way the audience knew we were to be transitioned from one era to the next, or one war to another. Ross Gurney-Randall was very impressive with his acting agility as he would literally leap from one spotlight to another and seamlessly continue his powerful monologue.
Mussolini could be described as an impressive effort, but not quite a polished performance. Definitely worth seeing purely for Ross Gurney-Randall’s talent as an orator, but not entirely tight as a performance. Whilst the bare set and sparse props definitely added to the overall satire, perhaps a little more padding would have helping carry the play along – after all, one hour is a long time to have to sustain an audience all alone.
Mussolini is suitable for anyone with an appreciation for political satire. Knowledge of Mussolini’s history is not required, but certainly would help with appreciating the nuances of the performance. Whether you are a history buff or just into a bit of tongue in cheek humour about one of the world’s most notorious leaders, Mussolini is worth checking out.