Stage Door News

Stratford: Saturday “Grand Magic” begins previews at the Stratford Festival

Friday, May 5, 2023

A world première translation of Eduardo De Filippo’s Grand Magic begins previews this Saturday, marking the first performances of the season at the Stratford Festival’s award-winning Tom Patterson Theatre. Stratford Festival Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino directs the work of the Italian master playwright in a new version by John Murrell and Donato Santeramo.

Hilariously funny and deeply moving, Grand Magic transports us to 1950s Naples, where Otto Marvuglia, a once master illusionist, is reduced to performing magic for money at a seaside resort. When one of Marvuglia’s tricks seems to go awry, a guest tumbles into a world of illusion as another escapes an unhappy reality

The creative team for this enchanting production includes Set and Lighting Designer Lorenzo Savoini, Costume Designer Francesca Callow, Composer Wayne Kelso, Sound Designer Ranil Sonnadara, Dramaturge Donato Santeramo, Choreographer Adrienne Gould and Magic Consultant David Ben.

Grand Magic explores the age-old idea that life is a game, a dream,” says Cimolino. “What at first appears to be simply a spectacle, may be a metaphor that leads to deeper understanding of ourselves. Perhaps through illusion we can find truth. And perhaps the purveyors of magic—as of theatre itself – are simply imitating and illuminating life.” This is the third work by De Filippo that he has directed at Stratford, following 2018’s Napoli Milionaria! (also translated by Murrell and Santeramo) and 1997’s Filumena.

Geraint Wyn Davies returns to Stratford to play washed-up illusionist, Otto Marvuglia, one in a line of brilliant comedic performances that include Falstaff, Toby Belch, Bottom and Private Lives’ Elyot Chase.

The production also features Beck Lloyd as Marta Di Spelta, Gordon S. Miller as Calogero Di Spelta and Sarah Orenstein as Zaira Marvuglia with Elizabeth Adams, Hilary Adams, David Collins, Sarah Dodd, Thomas Duplessie, Justin Eddy, Christo Graham, Jordin Hall, Kim Horsman, Stephen Jackman-Torkoff, Matthew Kabwe, Germaine Konji, Jamie Mac, Qianna MacGilchrist, Chanakya Mukherjee, Debbie Patterson, Tyler Rive, Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah, Andrew Robinson, Steve Ross, Tyrone Savage, Michael Spencer-Davis, Jane Spidell, Emilio Vieira and John Wamsley.

Grand Magic has its official opening on June 3 and runs until September 29 in the Tom Patterson Theatre. Tickets are available at or by calling 1.800.567.1600.

The 2023 season also features King Lear, Rent, Much Ado About Nothing, Les Belles-Soeurs, Monty Python’s Spamalot, A Wrinkle in Time, Frankenstein Revived, Richard II, Wedding Band, Casey and Diana, Women of the Fur Trade and Love’s Labour’s Lost. For more information, visit

Photo: Geraint Wyn Davies as Otto Marvuglia. © 2023.