Written by Anthony Wilkinson, My Big Gay Italian Funeral follows the fallout of the patriarch of a dysfunctional family. Not in the ordinary sense, this particular dysfunction is familiarity with one’s choices, obligations that become burdens from the fear of being isolated.
This is a farce, occasionally dipping its toe into drama. Our protagonist is Anthony (Julian Ricardo) who is still lamenting the loss of his one true love, Dominick (a well cast Hayes Beyersdorfer) as well as the break-up of his spouse. Anthony clings to his anger, at a time when he is needed to take the reins of responsibility.
Director Sonia Blangiardo excels in allowing the cast to particularize their role giving this comedy certain poignancy, intended or not.
The characters realize that until they reconcile differences, they are trapped and not even death can free them.
One could tell the crew enjoyed the production thoroughly, as the pacing, blocking and movement seemed effortless. Paul Anthony Storiale as Maurizio and Elyse Ashton as Angela stood out with precise comic timing.
My Big Gay Italian Funeral shows us that forgiveness may be one of the most powerful actions we can partake. It would be a tragedy if it takes death to prove this true.
“My Big Gay Italian Funeral” runs through Saturday, March 31 at Sherry Theatre located at 11052 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. Visit Defiancetheatrecompany.com for tickets.