Touchingly fun hunt for happiness
Johanna Paulson - Dagens Nyheter (Swedish national newspaper) (5 oktober 2008)

MaisonDahlBonnema & Needcompany at Kilen, Kulturhuset, Stockholm Bonnema and Dahls pop opera is an absurd depiction of the spoiled middle class´constant hunt for happiness. Johanna Paulsson is both entertained and touched. ... In "The Ballad of Ricky & Ronny" the sound from a laptop fills the air while the scenography is limited to a few single light shifts. There are no huge gestures, just two voices and repetitive rhythms whose formula-like appearance in itself becomes a bearer of meaning. Banal blipping synth pop is to embody a relationship deprived from its content. The music wanders freely from the eighties of David Bowie to rock duets that are like a meeting between Nico and Leonard Cohen Ricky and Ronny are children of an era of free sex, but the remains of the ideals from the sixties are mostly fear, desperation and a few trips. In a life full of misfortunes and lack of control they have slipped into a bubble where being together turns into a perverse docusoap. Ricky wants to celebrate that they´re still together and ”pretty ok”, even though the outside world is a chaos of war and alarms. But the emptiness is so infinite that it has to be filled with everything from high heels and kinky sex to an adopted child made out of snow and sperm – literally a fantasy embryo named “Freedom”. And on the same way of being turned away from reality, people jumping from skyscrapes turn into human snow in an indestructible memory of 9/11. The plot seems more and more absurd but the core is never lost. With vulnerability and presence they depict the inability to reach each other in a vacuum where the words “I love you” have since long lost their meaning and where one´s own disappointments are blamed on the other. The love that remains is only functional as the binding element in a team against the rest of the world. The primary for Bonnema and Dahl never seems to be to challenge the limits of performing arts – it sort of happens along the way – but to present their ideas through the intimacy of the human meeting. That´s precisely why "The Ballad of Ricky & Ronny" is both a humorous and touching depiction of the abundance society and the hunt for the individual happiness.

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