in association with The Scottish Storytelling Centre,
The Italian Cultural Institute and Valvona & Crolla
Mike Maran is an engaging storyteller and he has a remarkable story to tell in words and song. In 1860 Garibaldi started with only 1000 volunteers yet he brought about the unification of Italy by his leadership qualities and military skills against much greater numbers. He introduces a Scottish connection into the story with the fictional character Adie Brunton, a tailor from Leith who is inspired to join Garibaldis forces. David Vernon provides the musical accompaniment as the story unfolds. Mike Maran explains with clarity the life and times of Garibaldi. His manner is relaxed and amiable. It is very easy to sit back and enjoy!
Think Garibaldi and you probably know two things. Well, there arent any biscuits in Mike Marans show about him, but there are red shirts. This telling of the facts behind the fight for the unification of Italy is told by Maran in his customary, slightly rambling but utterly gripping style. It opens with the sound of bagpipes approaching through the audience and David Vernon climbing on to the stage. He not only provides the live accordion music, he also has a lovely deadpan delivery for his occasional deflating asides, notably the oft repeated phrase, That was a stroke of luck! Before we get to the story proper theres a description of the geographical and political set up in Italy which is hilariously illustrated on a map of Scotland. The unlikely invasion of Italy by Italy is entertainingly narrated by Maran, even the entirely fictional figure of a tailor from Leith, whose deep adoration of Garibaldi brought sharp intakes of breath from a gent in the front row. As with all revolutions, the people who hoped to benefit didnt, those who knew they would get richer did, and the man most responsible for its success had much of his thunder stolen by people who did nothing. Mike Maran tells the story very entertainingly and you do learn an awful lot of Italian history.
Garibaldi! is very much history as story, and certainly the central focus of Garibaldis life, his key role in the unification of Italy in the mid nineteenth century, contains moments of great drama. Maran clearly enjoys himself which means audiences have a fair chance to do likewise.