COMEDY REVIEW: Annabella Mozzarella – ‘That’s Amore’

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That’s Amore is not your average cabaret. It is an emotionally charged neo-burlesque, multimedia extravaganza.

Annabella Dickson will take you on a journey of love as she performs both Johnny Parmigiano and Annabella Mozzarella.

With the backdrop of Napoli, these two Italians fall hopeless in love. But alas, like all epic love stories, their romance is cut short when Johnny moves to Coburg.

Annabella Dickson is supported by a cast of Melbourne-based performers to create this hilariously passionate love story.”

This show was taken at first with great skepticism. A show about the love between a man named Johnny Parmigiano and Annabella Mozzarella;

What would my mother think?

Where would all my Italian street cred go?

But soon I was immersed in the cheesy Napoleon backdrop in which statues of Gesu shone a variant of colours and mix max’s were sold at the front. The tables were set up in classic Italian restaurant fashion and there was an accordion player!

One thing that this show did not do is take itself, in any way, seriously. It was there to entertain and boy, did it!

Although, eerily the show seemed tailored to me (my mother born within the region referenced, I actually live in Coburg and I love me some pop culture references) this show had something for everyone.

For Italians, it gave them a way of laughing at themselves. I brought a friend to this show who was brought up in Italy who almost died of laughter at the phrases used by Johnny and Annabella. She particular liked the character of Johnny who she thought was “such a true representation of Italian men”.
For other members of the audience they picked up on the clever references to music videos like Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ and Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’ and movies like American Beauty and Reservoir Dogs.

The use of multimedia I presumed would make the show too messy but it was used appropriately and made transitions of the narrative easy. Diane Vu, Leila Koren and James Plant’s work on this part of the show should be commended. The lighting design of this show should also be admired as it was bright and bold which completely added to the shows tone.

Annabella Dickson performance as both Johnny Parmigiano and Annabella Mozzarella was amazing. Her characters came effortlessly to her and were portrayed with such confidence.

Parmigarno’s group of goons played by Christopher Politis and Ned Zaina were another performance that enhanced the show. They were the dream team – they were so close with each other, it reminded me of my cousin’s friends and how they act around each other. Who could forget their rendition when portraying statues of ‘Hello’ By Adele and their strip tease to NSYNC’s ‘I Want You Back’. It was a bit cheeky and camp but the over the top-ness of the show sold it.

That’s Amore is not the classic comedy night out; it is immersive, quirky and campy show. It is basically a show that makes fun of stereotypes and popular culture Italian style. Annabella Mozzarella follows the tradition of satirical humour like seen in Commedia Dell’Arte, it is rich in layers of fun.

Words by Maria Dunne.

Annabella Mozzarella’s That’s Amore is on at Howler’s Bar till the 9th of April.

“A greater love you’ll never know… than that of Mozzarella and her Parimgiano!”