Theatre Melange - The Mona Lisas

Norwich Playhouse

Norwich Playhouse

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 around the history of art from Da Vinci to Impressionism, then Cubism and Dada to Andy Warhol.

Loosely hung around this frame, six performers mixed unmatchable 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.

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The mainly student audience loved 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.

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

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