Edinburgh Festival Fringe children’s show review: Katie and the Mona Lisa, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Kelly Apter.
A lot of care and attention has gone into bringing James Mayhew’s picture book to the stage. A beautifully constructed set plants us in London’s National Gallery, where the eponymous Katie is on a day trip with her grandmother.
The show starts well, with a lively song on a red bus, proving the six-strong cast vocally adept. From there, we hit a few problems which render this adaptation good, rather than great. As the story unfolds, Katie and her new friend Mona Lisa step inside various famous paintings. It’s a lovely idea which, in the book, encourages little ones to appreciate art – but here, only encourages us to wonder where Katie will go next.
There’s little in the way of dramatic conflict or minor peril – the kind of things that help an audience invest in a character and their situation. Messes are made, the gallery guard gets cross, but we never really start to care. Which is a shame, because the young cast of Planet Theatre Productions give their all.
Songs punctuate the action but again, they rarely penetrate the memory. Leaving Katie and the Mona Lisa on a pleasing saunter, rather than exciting canter, through Mayhew’s story.
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) until 31 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 11 August 2015
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