The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

What a difference a dream makes… (singing) 

I’ve just read “The Castle of Otrantoby Horace Walpole for the first time all in one breath this afternoon. This didn’t happen for a long time. The book is compelling, especially at the end, like a thriller, so I just couldn’t stop reading.

Since it’s regarded as the first Gothic Novel, I was expecting a different book somehow, maybe darker, but I liked it the same: ghosts, mysteries, disquieting events and a bit of hidden humour are not missing.

I was first introduced to this title seeing the fascinating exhibition “Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination” at the British Library in London back in 2014, the illustrations made in years for the several editions couldn’t have been more intriguing, but for a strange reason I managed to get a copy in a book shop only last December using a birthday gift card. Well, each book for the right time in life!

Even if it was published in 1764, “The Castle of Otranto“ is written in a fresh and not pompous language and there’s no a boring page. A tragedy was going on under my eyes and yet I had the impression that Walpole was making fun of the characters at some point. The atmosphere reminds me a bit of Shakespeare: King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and so on. I don’t mean that he copied them, but I wonder if the writer may have read the Bard’s plays taking inspiration from them.

To me, it has been better to read the book knowing little of the plot, so I don’t want to spoil it to new readers, but I can’t help citing an essential detail which I found intriguing: Walpole pretended to be just the translator of an ancient manuscript he found in Italy the first time he published it. He made an experiment to see the audience’s reaction, which I think impressed him positively.

Two forewords by Walpole himself, written for the first and the second editions, introduce the story to the readers and I felt sympathy for him for having been so imaginative and creative, but later admitting the truth, the rascal! The action taking place around a castle of Southern Italy is exquisitely written and, apart from the supernatural scenes, believable enough to be based on a true story. And thinking that it was inspired by a dream! And I like that, even back to 1700s, Walpole inserted three female characters who show strenght in the novel.


Searching on the Web, I found out that there have been just three adaptations of the novel: a surrealist short film, an audio book and a BBC radio play. I wish there would be more, a stage version would be perfect, for instance. I have an ideal cast in mind already. That’s why I put my first attempt at book reviewing on my blog on Performing Arts.


I have something in common with “Horace”: the passion for Gothic architecture and style, plus I often dream of ancient buildings that sound familiar to me, whose rooms and stairs suddenly change without a reason and weird things happen. I never finish those dreams, with my regret. I should write them down in a novel, too, what do you think?

It’s Shakespeare, again! In Veneto this time!

I’m in late on this, but it’s worth it to share it!

I’ve just found out on Twitter that brings Shakespeare around the Italian region Veneto!

logo Shakespeare in Veneto

Their motto:

from March to December 2016, 60 shows
in the original languages, in the cities of the Veneto region
where they were set by William Shakespeare.

Celebrating the 400-year Anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, representing Shakespeare’s works in the cities of the Veneto Region where they were set by the author: in the legendary cloister of Juliet’s Tomb in the romantic Verona; in noble, historical, outstanding Venetian Palazzi in Venice; in antique Villas in the ancient Republic of Venice territories and in a fairytale castle with a breath-taking panorama on Garda Lake.

> VERONA: Romeo and Juliet

>VENICE: Othello and The Merchant of  Venice

>PADUA – Legnaro: The Taming of the Shrew

> LAKE GARDA – Torri del Benaco (Verona): The two Gentlemen of  Verona

From 1st March to 21st December, 60 shows to relive William Shakespeare opere in unique places and magic atmosphere.

I’ve just started to follow them on Twitter ad Facebook!

I would like to see one of their shows!

Tourists visiting North Italy could be interested, too!


Series In The Flesh guest in Ravenna!

InTheFlesh a Ravenna

I was in London to see the protagonist Luke Newberry on stage in Teddy Ferrara, when Dominic Mitchell tweeted he was invited at the event for the Italian premiere of In The Flesh!!

Dom Mitchell tweet1  Dom Mitchell tweet2

And then he RTed my tweet:

My tweet to Dom Mitchell


I had my DVD with me in London, so when Luke Newberry came out of the stage door of the Donmar Warehouse, he said “Hello” and signed both my programme and the DVD cover! He even said “Thank you for buying this!“, but when I mentioned it, he told me he was sorry he couldn’t make Ravenna because he’s doing the play in London. It’s a very good reason, it’s a beautiful play!! (I’ll post my report soon).

My Italian friends who were with me took some lovely pictures of him and the actor Oliver Johnstone (see their gallery there).


Today, also the actor Kevin Sutton, who plays Gary Kendal, tweeted:

Kevin Sutton tweet

so this even more exciting! He played such a terrific baddie in the series!

Kevin Sutton favorited

But since the BBC didn’t give us a third season, there’s a petition to make In The Flesh Movie possible. “It has to happen!” I’ve signed already!

You can download for free Programme and Catalogue of Ravenna Nightmare Film Festival from their site, it’s in Italian and English:

I just can’t wait for this week-end!


Goodbye Jonathan Ollivier, 1977 – 2015!

Jonathan Ollivier 1977 - 2015

(sorry, I will post credits for this picture a.s.a.p.)

The news on Sunday evening was far too sad, one of those news you wouldn’t never read! The dancer Jonathan Ollivier 1977 – 2015 died in the morning after a motorcycle accident.

I feel so sorry for him and his family and colleagues! I read he was a father, too! Destiny can be so unfair and yet he had an amazing life and will stay young forever!

I had the privilege to see him performing as Luca in “The Car Man” about one month ago, Sunday 5 July at the Teatro Alighieri in Ravenna, and I want to remember him smiling to people who asked for his autograph at the stage door after the show. I was watching from far all those wonderful dancers of the cast coming out of the theatre, unable to introduce myself and now I regret it!

That Sunday he had yet to make his last performance of “The Car Man” for Sadlers Wells in London.

The Car Man poster TheCarMan

Here some articles from colleagues and magazines, remembering him.

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures post

Matthew Bourne and New Adventures tribute

Matthew Bourne and New Adventures pictures on their Facebook page

Chriss Mann photographer 10 August

The Guardian article

Etta Murfitt tweet

Tom Clark tweet

Ashley Shaw tweet

Dominic North tweet

Layton Williams tweet

Ravenna Festival tweet


Update 18/8: a very moving one on 15/8 “In honour of a consummate artist” by Paul Valley


The Donmar Warehouse is well organized indeed! Yesterday morning I got my paper ticket for “Teddy Ferrara” by mail, October 24 should come so fast!

Teddy Ferrara ticket

I also appreciate theatres that manage e-tickets. I’ve booked for “The Car Man” by Matthew Bourne at the Teatro Alighieri in Ravenna for “Ravenna Festival 2015” for Sunday 5 July matinee and I immediately got it by email.

The Car Man ticket

This is going to be another great year seeing theatre!



Hello! I’m Antonella, Italian, lover of Performing Arts,

especially Cinema and Theatre. I love to write about them!

The Italian magazine Ciak called me “The Indiana Jones of Movie Magazine

because I like to search and take things I find interesting out of the sea of paper.

Painter/Decorator in Italia. I dream of working in Art Department of movies, series or theatres!

I love cats, dogs and horses, who spot on in theatre!

Ciao! Sono Antonella, italiana, amante delle Arti Sceniche,

soprattutto Cinema e Teatro. Mi piace scrivere su questo!

La rivista italiana Ciak mi ha soprannominata L’Indiana Jones delle riviste di Cinema

perché mi piace cercare e consevare gli articoli che trovo interessanti estraendoli dal mare di carta.

Pittrice/Decoratrice in Italia. Il mio sogno è di lavorare nel dipartimento artistico di film, serie o teatri!

Amo gatti, cani e cavalli, perfetti per il teatro!

Il Gatto Del Teatro 2015