Last week, the Macrobert Playhouse was host to a production of the Scottish-Italian play Tally’s Blood. The last professional tour of Tally’s Blood was also directed by Ken Alexander, 20 years ago.
Set before, during, and after the Second World War, Tally’s Blood shines a light on life for Italians in Scotland amidst conflict. With the two countries on either side of the war, the Scottish-Italian community faced an abundance of hatred.
The many shops and businesses they owned were destroyed, families ripped apart, and reputations destroyed. Even in their own ice cream shops, raspberry sauce was referred to as tally’s blood. Hence, the play’s name.
Tally’s Blood illuminates the prejudices and struggles of the time. A popular play for high school essays, it’s multi-level sadness and humour is a delight to read. Thankfully, this production was also a delight to watch.
Massimo, the father-figure of the family, was a particular joy. His parental sense of care, sterness, and love was tangible. The humour on his part was excellently delivered; his monologue was beautifully sad. The performance was a credit to Scottish-Italian life, wonderfully showing the mingling of identities and crisis of circumstance.
Bridget was also a standout. The candor of her love story was beautifully tragic. Her monologue, too, was captivating and heartwrenching. The slight jokes and dancing with her brother, Hughie, were also a treat.
The set and music were flawlessly worked. Shifting seamlessly from shop to street, Scotland to Italy– little was physically changed but the sense of place was still established.
The play was witty, wholesome and a wonderful ode to the Scottish-Italian community. If you’re able to catch this production whilst live, take the opportunity.
You can see what else is on at the Macrobert here.
Feature image credit: Macrobert Arts Centre