Theater Review: Valentino

Eran Atzmon’s characterless patio set perfectly fits a home that has been denied life. The problem is the play.

Valentino
By Amnon Levy
and Rami Danon
Directed by Rami Danon
Beit Lessin, April 28
The ties that bind – in this case we’re talking of blood-ties, the ties of marriage, and old, misplaced loyalties.
Valentino is the nickname given to Alberto (Ze’ev Revach), who swept the gals off their feet with such ease, by his envious mates. 40 years ago he abandoned his wife and two children, fled to Argentina, and since then – never a word. Then he gets a letter from his son Bezalel (Yoram Toledano), demanding he take a blood test. Bezalel wants a child. He and his wife Rachel (Hannah Azulay-Hasfari) have a child – an institutionalized idiot from his birth – and Rachel won’t risk another. Instead of complying with his son’s request, Alberto returns, and that which he has sought to prevent, happens.

Valentino is well acted. Revach, as he is supposedto do, charms as Alberto, but we see the selfish, lonely, insecure oldman beneath the spotless white suit as well. Toledano andAzulay-Hasfari bring a fiery restraint to their roles, as does thealways accomplished Na’ama Shapira as Bezalel’s bruised sister, Orna.Shimon Mimran flawlessly shows her wonderfully Chekhovian husband,Yossi. Unhappily, Tehiya Danon as nosy neighbor Adele is morecaricature than character, comic though she is.
Eran Atzmon’s characterless patio set perfectly fits a home that hasbeen denied life. The problem is the play. There is too muchmanipulation. The guilty secret at its heart is obvious almost from thebeginning, yet the characters remain in an uneasy ignorance that issimply not credible, and once credibility has gone, we cannot care toomuch about these people’s fate. A pity.