‘The Marvellous Life of Carlo Gatti’: Melbourne’s new bleak comedy on physics and ice cream

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‘The Marvellous Life of Carlo Gatti’: Melbourne’s new bleak comedy on physics and ice cream

Theatre Works

Theatre Works' new play 'The Marvellous Life of Carlo Gatti' offers a thousand flavours.

The play’s titular subject was a Swiss entrepreneur credited with introducing ice cream to England in the mid-1800s, but the title’s a misnomer – the play isn’t about Gatti at all. Rather, its myriad subject matter traverses a physicist in 1983, a psychologist in 2017, a piano-playing Victorian era ghost, ice cream, quantum gravity, Elton John, and feeling alone in the universe.

The latest production from award-winning writer and playwright, Cassandra-Elli Yiannacou, will premiere at Theatre Works’ brand-new venue The Explosives Factory and run from August 3 – 13. The plot runs that in their respective apartments, in their respective times, a psychologist and a physicist fear for their sanity because whoever lives above them has been playing Hungarian composer Franz Liszt on the piano non-stop. The only problem is, they live on the top floor. Conundrum!

What you need to know

  • The Marvellous Life of Carlo Gatti
  • Theatre Works Explosives Factory – 67 Inkerman St, St Kilda
  • Thursday 4-13 August, 7:30pm. Tickets here.

Check out Melbourne’s latest stage shows and theatrical events here.

The question Cassandra poses is thus: when we’re moving through time, can binding a found family across the ages change our future and outrun death? “The characters in this play are isolated due to their sexualities and pressures from their family,” Cassandra says.

“And the play centres on the mental toll of social isolation, the depressive effects of loneliness, and the need to build communities and family. We think the themes of building friendships and families seem important now more than ever.”


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Theatre Works describe the play as both a bleak comedy and a balm for Melbourne post-lockdown, one that takes a look at the delicate things that barely hold us and the universe together, the deafening pain of isolation, and the phenomenal power of ice cream.

There’s a healthy dollop of audience engagement to boot. In the spirit of the play’s themes of a found family, an additional opt-in program allows audience members to meet over ice cream (provided by St Kilda ice cream shop 7 Apples) in a circumstance mirroring the play’s characters themselves, to complete a small questionnaire about Elton John, physics and that tastiest of frozen dairy products.

Directed by Chris Hosking and featuring performances from Shamita Siva, El Kiley, Connor Dariol and Hayley Edwards, it’s all part of Theatre Works’ 2022 season theme ‘beyond hope’ and by the sounds of things, will stretch those narrative possibilities as far as they can.

For more information, dive into the website here.