Book, music & Lyrics by Olivia Mace

Fresco is based on true events in the lives of Leonardo De Vinci and Michelangelo.

In 1504 when Leonardo Da Vinci was coming to the end of his career and Michelangelo was at the peak of his, both artists were commissioned to create works for the Hall of the 500 in Florence. Each was asked to paint a famous battle.

Leonardo was building a hydraulics machine designed to cause devastation to nearby Pisa by rerouting its river. The plans failed. But that river, the river Arno, became the backdrop to the Mona Lisa. Michelangelo had just completed his sculpture of David and had caught the attention of Pope Julius II. He would soon be invited to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. They hated each other. Michelangelo was a pious young religious zealot and Leonardo was an outspoken, ageing cynic. Both were ambitious. Both were brilliant. Both were gay.

Fresco tells the story of the short time those two men spent in each other’s company in the small, ambitious city of Florence which was on the brink of war. Rather than glorifying these two famous artists we tell a down to earth tale of their petty rivalries, insecurities and fears.

Our gender and colour blind chorus play multiple characters in the story both real and imagined from Niccolo Machiavelli (who employed the artists) to Isabella, a Florentine fruit seller who works her way into some of stories most famous works of art. The musical styles also vary through recitative, jazz, traditional musical theatre and chamber music.

The director is Kevin Bennett (Shaw Festival, Merchant of Venice for Shakespeare’s Globe) and the musical director is Yshani Perinpanayagam (Emilia, Vaudeville Theatre.) The diverse cast have worked collectively at the Globe and the West End.

The show played at Waterloo East Theatre on Friday May 3rd at 7.30pm, as part of the New British Musical Festival.

Waterloo East Theatre, Brad Street SE1 8TN Twitter @waterlooeast

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