For over twenty years now Nicole Mossoux and Patrick Bonté, the provocative pair from Brussels, have left both Belgian and international audiences spellbound with their singularly strange and disconcerting universe. Whether blending dance and theater or making marionettes come to life, they have continually shed light on our peculiarities and our darkest inclinations. Their new piece, A Taste of Poison, serves as an extension of their previous show, Histoire de l’imposture, which infused social role-playing and other pretenses with a wild, liberating energy. This time, with the help of five performers acting as "behavioral experts", the choreographic duo examines our most deplorable penchants.
Be they addictions, perverse attitudes, power struggles, excessive profiteering, or the growing tendency to turn brash words into knee-jerk deeds, they are as widespread as they are nefarious. Can art manage to lend meaning to this chaos that leaves us between tears and laughter?
Delphine Baffour, La Terrasse / January 2017
We are living in such revolting times that theater and even dance have have to add their voices to the issue of basic democratic values receding behind overt cynicism.
This is not the first time that the Compagnie Mossoux-Bonté reveals the pretenses animating the comedy played out in today’s society. Histoire de l’Imposture went back in time to gladly denounce the hypocrisies of social life (...). In the current piece, the satire is much more bitter, more ferocious, and, above all, more political. Visually, it plays on the contrast between white-uniformed "scientists" subjecting their "victims" to nine tests (...), deftly playing on the gap between the serious nature of "science" and the way it is perversely used. It pursues the simultaneously grating and elegant logic that makes the [Compagnie] Mossoux-Bonté so appealing, its signature uncanniness worming its way into Taste of Poison.
Christian Jade, RTBF / March 2017
Patrick Bonté’s new choreographic examination focuses on the toxic behaviors that fuel our societies. A Taste of Poison reaches the conclusion that "poison has never tasted better." This is not, however, a play about soda and fast food. Food is not the subject of the nine experiments the five scientists conduct onstage in order to learn more about the point to which our current addictions and obsessions have led us. The researchers’ behavior is equally suspicious. Their laboratory resembles a clinic or even an insane asylum. Warning: at the end of the one-hour-long performance (...) , the madpeople have elected a madman! (...) Everything is fake in this deceptively scientific world and the skewed parallel universe it presents. The grotesqueness on display benefits from our full approval, since it offers a language that reveals the truth.
Thomas Hahn, Danser Canal Historique / February 2017
It shakes you up and blows you away (…). The five equally remarkable and astonishing performers sweep us up in a whirlwind of energy and movement, leading us into a vicious circle (…). Irony is more present than ever. You are left not only with the thought that "the future seems like a long tunnel" indeed, but also with the equally strong conviction that "dance allows the world to breathe".
Didier Béclard, L'Echo / March 2017
What is a human being? Flesh and bones, as well as passions, irresistible impulses, addictions, domination reflexes, of which a representative sample is under the scrutiny of the Mossoux-Bonté Company (in A Taste of Poison). Against a black background and almost in silence, duly dressed in learned lab coats, five behaviour experts unceremoniously examine their guinea pigs - that is, themselves (…).
Of surgical precision, on the fringes of dance and theater, their body language plays with paradox, drawing attention on the couple of inches that separate an allowed posture (a man’s hand on a woman’s hip) from obscene conduct (the same hand that has landed further down on the woman’s thigh). Denouncing the constraints and worst spinelessness of the comédie humaine simultaneously, the performance pushes its audience to wonder about social role-playing games.
Géraldine Kornblum, l’Humanité / July 2019