This musical adaptation of "Mrs. Doubtfire" provides an entertaining evening. The title, roughly, means, "Well, at least there's always Maria" -- the re-named protagonist. The plot concerns a man whose wife leaves him, winning full custody of their three children. The lonely husband impersonates a female nanny and gets the job of caring for his own kids while their mom works all day outside the home. It is, to mix the national source of my figure of speech, a tour de force for Enrico Montesano, who is a star of Italian films and night clubs. He has the charm and versatility of the screen original, Robin Williams.
The plot is streamlined, with less subtlety than the movie, and some changes are made, which don't bother me. The resulting plot is a cross between "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Tootsie," with a bit of Where's Charley? thrown in - everything to give Montesano the chance to show various facets of female impersonation. He's affecting, also, in his scenes as a man. What does bother me is the fact that the music is not integrated into the plot. It's more like incidental songs and dances between the dramatic moments. Tuneful in a traditional musical-comedy style, but there are no emotional ballads to express anyone's deep feelings.
In addition to Montesano's star turn, the show has some nice bits by veteran actor Prospero Richelmy. Barbara d'Urso, as the wife, is decorative. The kids are excellent. Orchestral accompaniment is pre-recorded. There are no live musicians in the house. The story is easy to follow even if you have only a smattering of Italian. There are clever cultural references, as when the ex-wife visits Montesano's messy, sparse apartment and says, disparagingly in Italian: "It reminds me of La Boheme" - Puccini's opera about poor Bohemians. Montesano, feeling sorry for his fate, replies: "More like La Forza del Destino" - Verdi's opera about the tragic forces of destiny.