Writer &Director: Chris Larner
Reviewer: David Doyle
The Frida Kahlo Of Penge West is in many ways, the epitome of fringe theatre. It’s two women on stage making a one-woman show, which stars two actors, about Frida Kahlo. It’s absurd, funny, and highly entertaining. Ruth, an actress who currently works in a box office, moves in with a university friend, and after seeing a male-dominated RSC production ropes her in to creating a one-woman show.
What follows is 75 minutes of farce as Olivia Scott-Taylor and Cecily Nash power through a script littered with enough absurd humour to keep audiences laughing throughout. Both Scott-Taylor and Nash have incredible comic timing and manage to land every joke. The pair manage to play off each other exceedingly well, and Larner’s direction gives them the space to do that. The pair’s energy is what drives much of the piece, which would have been lost in lesser hands.
The acting is matched by some wonderful design with both a set and lighting that make great use of a small space. The design also adds wonderfully to the one-woman play about Frida Kahlo that forms part of the show with cardboard eyebrows, comically painted sets, and a black wig perched perilously on top of a blonde head adding a layer of visual comedy to the mix.
For all the success of the show it does feel slightly too long with laughs drying up for a few moments here and there as it hurtles towards an ending that feels slightly weak compared to the strengths of the rest of the piece. However both actors manage to keep the show on course and create a show that is joyfully wacky and a pleasure to watch.
Runs until 31 August 2015
Image Credit: Nick Rutter