McKellen Plays a Tony Soprano-like Boss in the Play 'The Syndicate'

Sir Ian McKellen as Don Antonio, the
mob boss more like Tony Soprano than
Vito Corleone, in The Syndicate.

We are not big on Broadway -- and are even less big on off-Broadway. But if a show like Eduardo De Filippo’s The Syndicate, starring Sir Ian McKellen playing a Mafia don "more Tony Soprano and less Don Corleone," as the U.K.'s Observer Citizen writes, we'd pick up the phone ASAP and use our credit card to order the best seats available in the place.

And no, the play is not about the Chicago mob, which historically has been called The Syndicate.

The following is taken from a review published in the Observer Citizen:

"He’s perhaps not an archetypal gangster, making a grand entrance, dressed in boxing silks, but he packs a punch as the nearest thing to judge and jury in provincial Naples.

"The Syndicate had its premiere at the Chichester Festival Theatre before it goes on a short tour ending in MK on September 12.

"McKellen is Don Antonio who sits as arbiter to various neighbourhood disputes and dispenses an often rough justice. The drama reaches an explosive climax when the Mafia boss clashes with a humble but honest baker who refuses to be drawn into the criminal underworld or a deadly confrontation with his hot-headed son.

"The subject matter, at a time when there are those wanting to impose their own laws on parts of British communities, is likely to be contentious but there’s plenty of quips and an undercurrent of gallows humour to support a powerful performance by the steely-eyed laird.

"The veteran actor gives a magnetic, and hugely-watchable, performance as the local Godfather, one minute feeling his age (a venerable 75 in this) with a rasping voice and poor health, and the next dispensing words of wisdom to placate warring friends and an anxious wife.

"He’s ably supported by the charismatic Michael Pennington who plays the great man’s doctor and confidente.

"The story is set in Don Antonio’s summer retreat and opens with an attention grabbing cacophony of noise from fireworks, a pistol and baying dogs.

"... The don is a loving family man with a beautiful wife, a gorgeous and dutiful daughter and two sons who are all involved in the family business but, as unsavoury as you may find the premise of the story, it’s a cracking chance to watch two of the finest stage actors in modern British history – McKellen and Pennington - vie for attention in a story about honour and family."

See the original article here: McKellen shows who’s boss in The Syndicate - Theatre - Observer Citizen