I’ve been a little obsessed with Frida Kahlo ever since I realised she slept in a bed with a skeleton above it and saw a photo of her dressed like a man and owning it in the 20s. It seems like I’m not the only one; Caroline Bowditch has taken it a few steps further and has channeled her adoration into a play. There are parallels between their lives – both highly creative, both facing challenging disability which whilst shaping their characters, doesn’t define them. You’re pulled into it immediately – the music played as you arrive? Frida played in her house, and the neon and real cacti gave the audience a modern taste of Mexico.
There was a real intimacy and warmth to the theatre. Caroline tells her tale alongside two dancers and a BSL interpreter, all four women are integral to the performance. At one point tequila was handed out. It seemed very appropriate. The audience was invited into the piece, both physically (seating was on the stage) and emotionally – there was a heartfelt letter on each chair from a lady who had seen Caroline on the news who had remembered her as a child. It was so richly layered, with Caroline’s tales and feelings blended with snippets of information about Frida, alongside the strength which came across from the dance and the grace of the sign language. God, what have you been to see recently where you’ve been given a postcard which encouraged you to write a love letter to your body? I challenge anyone that sees this not to fall a little more in love with Frida (and Caroline) by the end of it.