Edinburgh Festival: Working on a Special Day (3 stars)

A passionate Italian romance, set against the backdrop of the build-up to the Second World War, this compellingly performed two-hander captures both a defining period in history and the distinctive roles men and women are given in a society built on traditional family values.

It’s 1938 and Hitler is visiting Mussolini. While a rally is taking place in Rome, a stay-at-home mother-of-six receives a visit from her neighbour, someone who is more than he at first seems.

Through a charming piece of staging, items in the room are drawn in chalk on the blackboard walls by the performers. Windows, pictures, a lamp – slowly they build up a picture of a homely apartment.

A collaboration between Mexican company Por Piedad Teatro and New York’s The Play Company, and inspired by the 1977 film Una Giornata Particolare, it is a piece that has the underlying sexual tension of a classic melodrama and, after a slow start, this builds to some heated moments.

A small story with a big heart, performed with great chemistry by Ana Graham and Antonio Vega, it captures the warmth of human relationships against the backdrop of what was to become a very cold and dark period in history.

Written for The Scotsman

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