Theatre Review: Falling In Love With Frida

Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield ***

When I discovered there was a show about a Frida Kahlo, the Mexican surrealist artist, there was no way I would miss it.

What’s more, it was pitched as exploring her life, loves and legacy, uncovering little-known facts about her. That sealed the deal.

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Having been pretty-much obsessed with Kahlo since the age of 15, so much so I made a pilgrimage to her home in Coyoacan, Mexico City, I’d like to think I know just about everything about her, so it was intriguing to hear that I could be about to learn something new.

Unfortunately, on this part, I was left a little disappointed by Falling in Love With Frida.

But the piece was very moving. More about the life of writer and performer Caroline Bowditch than it was about my beloved Frida, it combined poetry, dance and music, exploring Bowditch’s own past loves.

The more interesting parts for me were about Bowditch’s life and how living with disability has affected her relationships. A particularly heart-warming moment came when a letter, read by the author, was broadcast over loud speakers. It was from a woman who had known Bowditch as a child and had seen her on television, and been moved to write to her now she was ‘a celebrity’. Bowditch commented on how Frida had made such an impact on her life, and how she wished she had made a mark on others. And there it was, she had - she just didn’t realise it.

I think Bowditch made a mark on those in the audience too. It was an intimate portrayal, almost as if she was talking to you personally, and despite it being less Frida-orientated than I might have liked, I certainly left feeling as though I had learnt something about love and legacy.