art / “Hyper Real”, National Gallery of Australia, until February 18. Reviewed by ANNI DOYLE WAWRZYŃCZAK.
Shaun Parker (Glenn) and Lucia Mastrantone (Rhonda) took the audience, replete with cans of VB and home-made popcorn, on an eclectic musical journey through their relationship – one that purports to represent the unfurling of romantic relationships everywhere at any given time.
Parker was inspired initially by cheesy power ballads to create “Blue Love”. Act Three of the performance passed through Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” and culminated in none other than Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” in a medley of love songs, some pleading for answers, others suggesting in no uncertain terms what one could do with oneself. Parker expanded his concept for the show to wider art-forms and inspirations and interpretations of love.
The entire performance was energetically and cleverly choreographed. At times, the choreography, executed casually and with humour appeared deceptively simple.
Parker and Mastrantone’s dancing and comedy was very much in sync, with good chemistry. A physically demanding piece where Glenn danced with Rhonda’s rag-doll body, to Sinatra’s “For Once In My Life” symbolised aspects of stubbornness, irony and responsibility in relationships, as did the couple’s home videos, which “Margaret and David” review afterwards.
Glenn constantly “corrected” and upstaged Rhonda’s performances and stories, none more so than during her Norman Lindsay inspired offering, before she got frustrated and plucked his grapes, mid falsetto.
“Blue Love” is Austin Powers meets Rock of Ages, where Renaissance paintings meet ’70s porn. It’s a little bit tango a little bit Lord of the Dance, with a touch of murder, adultery, poignancy and taxidermy.
There were nods to classical ballet, silent movies and cinematic conventions, even Star Wars, in this well-staged production. The lighting in was subtle and effective.
“Blue Love” is a random ride, with lots of laughs, despite a couple of contemporary political jokes falling flat.
The audience may not be entirely sure what they have witnessed in the love arena but they know they enjoyed it.