Review By Pat Taylor

A zany Italian comedy that kept the audience laughing, while exploring each character’s passions and deep sense of “familia”… this one is a lot of fun! Taking place in 2001 in a tiny, freezing cold town in Canada, called “Way up Bay,” the Tappinos migrated here decades ago, in search of a better life. Here, we meet parents, grandparents and four adult kids, co-existing and verbally sparring… with passion, love and hilarity! Let’s face it… Italians are volatile and their families are deeply emotionally connected! Written with a lot of heart and “pisano pizzazz,” by Dina Morrone (from true life events), you will laughingly relate to this funny and heartfelt family story. Under the skillful and fast paced direction of Peter Flood, an accomplished cast of twelve takes us on a fun-filled trip into the psyche of the Italian family lifestyle. Gina (a spunky and high-spirited Morrone) returns home to take a year off from her high profile career. She harbors a secretive reason for this choice. The day she arrives, a gigantic “loose moose” saunters into the neighborhood (a toweringly terrific Eric Allan Kramer), which has everyone in an uproar. Gina’s volatile parents (John Cygan and Constance Mellors) and quirky grandparents (Jack Kutcher and Laura James) riotously squabble for family dominance. A quartet of brilliantly bonkers… perfectly timed performances! As Gina’s siblings (a variety of “nutcakes”) feverishly interact… It’s like she never left home! Each of them have “issues,” and squabble for their beliefs (All well played, by Johnny Ferretti, Nick McDow and Corinne Shor). Rounding out the nutty cast nicely is: Michael Lorre, Grant Venable and Jemma Bosch. A highly effective technical team places us at the heart of the story, and into the lives of this loud and lovingly expressive family. Congrats to: Jeff G. Rack (set design), Celina Yun (costumes), Yancey Dunham (lighting) and David Johnson (sound).

For a heartwarming peek at “Familia–Italian style,” you must meet the passionate Tappino clan!