Photo by ‘Doris Baum’
“If you are fascinated by art in general - and the bohemian world of twenties and thirties artists in particular - you’ll love this. Kara Wilson has returned for another of her inimitable portrayals of an artist through words, music and painting ..... this year it’s the divinely decadent Tamara de Lempicka.
Wilson transforms herself into this wild woman of art, who lived in Poland, and whose life was dramatically altered by the Russian Revolution and the rise of Nazism. She was quite saucy for her day, taking many of her portrait subjects as lovers (that’s boys and girls).
Wilson brings this hugely egotistical, witty and talented artist to life marvellously and, for the hour or so of the show, you are transported to a world of glamour, fame and being chums with Picasso and Mondrian. Through anecdote, song and, best of all, painting (she completes a copy of a De Lempicka painting each night), Wilson makes her real in a way that even great biography can’t match”.
“This is a wonderfully extravagant, decadent feast of an evening: art, songs by Chopin and Weill, and a life that makes Hello! magazine look like Eastenders. And you get to buy the painting at the end of the show.”
Kara’s performance evenings were a sell-out success and the atmosphere in the audience was fantastic, visitors describing the experience as “unforgettable”.
Livia Ratcliffe, The Royal Academy of Arts
NEW YORK reviews of DECO DIVA, April 2005“Ms Wilson is immensely likable as the sort of insouciant woman who would have taken car trips with the King of Spain and whose friends might have talked about burning down the Louvre to pave the way for modern art.”
Anita Gate, New York Times
“Kara Wilson may be the ultimate hyphenate, bringing her talents as a writer, actor, singer, and artist to her portrayal of Tamara De Lempicka, the Polish-born, Paris-based painter of the 1920s and 30s. Wilson also directed the piece. She has well absorbed her subject, and presents an engaging glimpse into the glamorous life of a celebrated art-deco figure.”
Robert Windeler, Back Stage
“Deco Diva has an unusual credit line; written, performed and painted by Kara Wilson. Over the span of this hour long, finely etched portrayal of chic Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka, Wilson produces an accomplished copy of one of the artist’s most famous oil portraits. It is a gimmick but one that this veteran Scottish actress employs with panache in her zeal to bring her subject to life. Wilson nails Lempicka’s Polish-accented English with its soupcon of French expression, her breezy glamour, and the self absorption of the privileged.”
Deirdre McFadyen, Off-Off Online
“It is not Wilson’s intention to tell the detailed autobiography of her subject, so much as to paint a character. This she deliciously accomplishes in several ways. First of all, much of the show concerns her relationship to her art and to her subjects: who they were, how she found them – or they her – and the experience of working with them, disrobing them, posing them. Also Wilson paints a replica of one of Lempicka’s paintings. It is hard not to watch her apply the color to the canvas and wonder if de Lempicka applied it in the same way, with the same sort of strokes and the same attention or rhythm. Deco Diva is a loving and passionate tribute from an avid fan.”
David Pumo, nytheatre.com
“The solo piece is a glowing homage to the Art Deco world of 1930s Paris. Wilson not only directed the play but stars as De Lempicka and paints a copy in oil of Lempicka’s “Rafaela Sur Font Vert” which is auctioned off after each show. The painting is as hypnotic, and certainly as colourful, as the play itself. Being equally gifted as a painter and performer, Wilson has structured the play around the physical act of painting. What makes the show memorable is the recreation of the painting.”
Jenny Sandman, Curtain Up
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