"mix of music and theatre"
by David Franchi for remotegoat on 12/11/15

It was Italy vs. England for the second night of Theatralia Jazz Festival.

The second night of Theatralia Jazz Festival was a great success. Titled England vs. Italy, the performance on 10th November was a mix of reading and music, jazz and literature.

The show started with God Save the Queen, a poem inspired to the famous UK hymn, recited by renowned Italian writer Stefano Benni, accompanied by Filomena Campus, singer – also organiser of the festival – followed by a piece about Shakespeare.

They continued with One Hand Jack, a nice satirical story of gangsters and the city underworld. They were joined on stage by vocalist Cleveland Watkiss, who interpreted God wearing a lamé suit and holding a microphone. Jack has one only arm but will become the best bass player in town – here on stage interpreted by Dudley Philips.

The second set started with Benni and famous trumpet player Paolo Fresu, who improvised on “The history of Odisseo Sinbad and the fishermen” a story that is written using a mix of all Mediterranean languages and dialects.

Then it was the moment of “Franca”, a poem dedicated to Franca Rame, who recently died: she was the wife of Nobel awarded Dario Fo and beloved friend of Benni.

Unmissable in almost every show of Campus is The Queen of the Clown, which turned in pure jazz improvisation, in a continuous musical phrase between Fresu pianist Steve Lodell.

Then is a moment of “We are so different”, a pure vocal improvisation, wtih few words, between Campus and Watkiss specifically written for them.

The show ended with Crêuza de mä, a famous song by Fabrizio De André, unforgotten Italian singer song-writer. The tune is originally written in the dialect of Genoa but was translated in Italian.

While all texts are written by Stefano Benni, the music is written by Steve Lodder and Dudley Philips. Notable rhythmic are by drummer Rod Youngs.

Improving every year, Filomena Campus continues her excellent investigation about music and theatre, experimenting on new forms. The show is poised between theatre and music, with eminent artists and great music. Filomena Campus is a jazz vocalist and theatre director, and these two souls are united in the show, giving it an uncommon hint.

Formerly running My Jazz Islands festival, Campus started Theatralia festival in 2013, in an attempt to amalgamate her Sardinian roots with British and Italian styles.

Theatralia Jazz Festival returned for the third year from 9th to 11th November 2015. The first evening presented Campus new project, 4Njanas, a new female-only group led by Filomena Campus herself, followed by trumpeter Paolo Fresu and tuba player Oren Marshall.

The third evening presented an adapted jazz version of the theatre production Misterioso about jazz legend Thelonious Monk, here interpreted by Cleveland Watkiss alongside music performed by Robert Mitchell, Orphy Robinson, Dudley Phillips, Jean Toussaint and Filomena Campus. It also celebrated the centenary of the birth of Billie Holliday. Misterioso, produced by Campus with support from Arts Council England, was previously staged at the London Riverside Studios and the Edinburgh Festival.

Theatralia was very nice and eagerly waiting next year.

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