Brighton Festival reviews

Picablo - Presented by Tam Teatromusica at The Old Market

Monday 6th May 2013

Hove’s premier arts site, the fantastic Old Market played host to a remarkable live performance show from Italy’s Tam Teatromusica based on the paintings of Pablo Picasso.

Tam Teatromusica are a theatre company from Padua who specialise in performances full of synergy and intersection of media and in Picablo they merge digital art, music, mime, movement ,costume and projection to create a living exploration of, and homage to, the paintings of Pablo Picasso.

Using digital projection on to different shaped and sized blank canvasses, artistes Flavia Bussolotto and Allesandro Martinello cut and paste a kaleidoscope of Picasso’s most famous works. By moving the projection canvasses and using their own bodies they bring the paintings to life. The duo use digital versions of the paintings to focus in on details of shape and colour and create from these a narrative for each painting.

We begin in the artist’s studio, recreated in 3D , where a digital Picasso looks back on his life and work. The actors transpose his paintings by manipulating, reassembling and arranging them to form new shapes and connections. We travel through a world of dancers, lovers , doves ,cats and the magnificent Gurnica which is fragmented and thrust apart like some living 3d explosion across the stage.

The whole performance is underpinned by Michele Sambin’s pulsating and mesmerising mood music which builds up a series of soundscapes to accompany the fluctuating living paintscapes presented on the stage.

At just over an hour the work doesn’t hang about but engages with what we think of as (possibly over) familiar works in a new and surprising way.

By Andy Warren

Fanny and Stella by Neil McKenna at Brighton Dome Studio Theatre

Saturday 4th May

A tale of two very special Victorian ladies revealed some surprising aspects of that era during author Neil McKenna’s lively, saucy and unpredictable talk.

Originally commissioned to write a biography of Laurence of Arabia, which did not inspire him, he remembered a story about two female impersonators and his research unearthed fascinating public records including the transcript of their trial. The pair went from mixing with high society – one ‘married’ a Duke’s son – to being arrested for soliciting in a theatre, which is when their cross-dressing was revealed.

Bringing the past to life through insightful details and his spirited reading of court evidence from the mean-spirited London landlady who had Fanny’s aristocratic husband as a tenant, the event ended with everyone wanting to know more.

By Brian Warren