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The Leonardo Question - One4Review

3 Stars


Caroline Wiseman’s play is an entertaining, satirical romp through the world of modern art over the past century. The major artists are represented in short sketches from Picasso and Duchamp, through to Pollack and Warhol and finally, Hirst and Emin. The script uses their actual words as one ‘ism’ was rejected and a new ‘ism’ came into fashion.

The linking figure in the sketches is Peggy Guggenheim, the wealthy art patron. She is played by Clemmie Reynolds who gives a shining performance as the flirtatious and promiscuous Peggy. She is ably supported by Kyle Ross and Patrick Rogers who share out the male artists between them.

The theme of the play is the question. What makes good art? Is it the skill of the artist or is it just a question of money and the economics of supply and demand or is it catching the mood of the times? The final sketch, featuring Hurst and Emin, is the most extended. This focuses on contemporary society’s obsession with the cult of celebrity. For example, Emin is now a media personality. Is her art now driven by a need to be the centre of attention?

At the end, the question is posed who will be the next big name in art and how will their recognition be decided?

The quick fire nature of the sketches can only show the artists as caricatures. Perhaps the key theme is laboured. Nevertheless, the piece has wit and charm.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Zoo Roxy; V115

Dates                                                  22 to 30 August 2010

Times                                                 14.45 to15.35

Fringe Programme Page Number: 266

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