Falling in Love with Frida, Traverse, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Caroline Bowditch
Caroline Bowditch (artistic director/choreographer), Katherina Radeva (set and costume design), Emma Jones (lighting design), Jemima Levick (dramaturgy), danbeats (music), Jenny Lööf and Carys Hobbs (costume makers)
Caroline Bowditch, Marta Masiero, Welly O’Brien and Yvonne Strain (BSL interpreter/performer)
Running time

The late Michael Marra was fascinated enough by Frida Kahlo to write a song where she arrives ‘flooded in a scarlet light ‘in the Taybridge Bar in Dundee. Caroline Bowditch takes her fascination further and falls in love with the long dead Mexican artist.

Unrequited love is painful enough and the love of a long dead person she’s never met is definitely unrequited yet Bowditch gathers sustenance from it despite this and it is her positive message of love that shines through in this utterly feminine work.
Dressed in bold primary colours and with eyes full of impish challenge, Bowditch delivers a frank account of her unabashed obsession. As a disabled woman artist herself, her particular connection with Kahlo’s suffering is acute but that is not her focus. Instead Bowditch focusses on Kahlo’s vitality, glamour and above all sexuality.

The slow sultry insistent Mexican music, said to be the same that Frida laid down to in her house, greets the audience. Its mood is mirrored across the work’s graceful liquid choreography from Bowditch herself that is gorgeously performed by Marta Masiero and Welly O’Brien dressed in the exquisitely designed dresses by Katherina Radeva and made by Jenny Lööf and Carys Hobbs. So lovely are they that it seems a shame when they are eventually shed! The four performers take part in the beautiful hand movements that are filled with little kisses, a reminder of the importance of loving yourself.

Deeply conscious of Kahlo’s legacy, Bowditch’s parallel story is her own and carries the importance of ‘leaving a mark'. Under the warm lighting that evokes Mexico’s heat, she delivers a direct, honest and overtly sensual message on the positive power of desire and sex and the transcending power of art. In her words to ‘let the inside out’.

This generous, inclusive and life affirming piece is scattered with happy surprises, all of which is enthusiastically British Sign Language interpreted by Yvonne Strain throughout.

We are invited to toast Frida with a tequila (or lemonade) shot at one point. This is also a toast to Caroline who quietly reigns in this show that points up the fragile strength of being human. ¡a tu salud!

18 Sep 2015 - 19 Sep 2015 age recommend 16+ Tour continues