“Hey kids, let’s go see a show about vegetables based on a book by influential 20th Century Italian artist and designer Bruno Munari,” said no one, ever. Until now. Yes, Italian company Schedia Teatro has used shadow theatre, live action, and projections to make that dizzying combination of ideas incarnate in their intermittently fun new show.
Based on Munari’s book of the same name, Roses in the Salad’s basic premise is that, if you know where to look, beauty is everywhere. Even in your composting bin.
Excitable junior chef Romilda—played with bright-eyed gusto by Irina Lorandi—lives a frustrated, Cinderella life in the kitchen. Her duties are limited to washing the dishes or throwing out food.
But within these restrictions, she discovers that dipping food scraps in paint and printing them on a page unveils a whole new world. Cauliflowers create trees and heads of lettuce birth roses. Magically, they appear on a large screen behind her, creating a universe that she can jump into and explore.
It’s a lovely idea, and one executed with technical panache. However, it takes a while for the show to get to this point of wonderment. The first half of the show is just Romilda and the irascible head chef indulging in some mildly distracting slapstick banter. It’s like having to work through a perfectly serviceable starter and main course to get to a stellar dessert.
But when the shadow play and projections arrive, any fidgety kids are soon won over. The inventiveness with vegetables is a lot of fun, but the rest of the show, however, could do with more meat.