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David Porter » Reviews » The Mona Lisas

The Mona Lisas

Theatre Melange at the Playhouse, Norwich

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 7 October 2006

The Mona Lisas

Mona Lisa – the smile that launched a thousand spin-offs. Forgive me mixing my metaphors, but in a surreal performance artpiece, eclecticism comes as normal. It was a tour round the history of art from Da Vinci to Impressionism, then Cubism and Dada to Andy Warhol.

Loosely hung round this frame, six performers in search of something mixed unmatcheable images and sounds to create not a sense of wonder at the fusion of art and theatre, but bewilderment.

The Anglo-Romanian company is an international collaboration of cultures and history using the Italian painting stolen from France in 1911. Surrealism is a perfectly acceptable stage form. This had giant props, distorted dances, strangely sexual costumes and enough experimenting to satisfy most fans.

The mainly student audience lovedf the modern photo art, videoing the audience to pick out older people for mockery.

The best was the opening sequence of identical Mona Lisa masks – a metaphor for reality versus counterfeit. I think.

We don’t all understand art, but we know what we like. There was a wonderful Romanian argument stopped by an English actress crying out: “I wish someone would give me a translation”.

She spoke for us all.

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