The Frida Kahlo of Penge West (3 stars)

This article is from 2015

The Frida Kahlo of Penge West

Credit: Nick Rutter

Monobrows and monologues

From writer and director Chris Larner, Fringe First winner for An Instinct For Kindness, comes a satire on art, theatre and friendship

Olivia Scott-Taylor plays timid, virginal Zoe, a sharp contrast to Ruth (Cecily Nash) whom she befriends when she is kicked out by her actor boyfriend. Ruth is a horror, a praying mantis in polyester, who makes Katie Hopkins look refined and Zoe, pushover that she is, lets her stay over at her humble abode in Penge West ('Penge – a cross between minge and pension,' Zoe sighs in one of her bittersweet monologues).

The results are a tad predictable: the two women stage an amateurish play about the life of Frida Kahlo, called My Womb is A Paintbrush, which has some genuinely hilarious and un-PC side swipes at Kahlo's iconography, Leon Trotsky and the po-faced art world, but the dialogue is often a little dated.

Nonetheless, the two women perform with brio, especially Scott-Taylor who brings wit and pathos to Zoe. With a nicely judged twist and sharp observations on the showbusiness establishment – and the hangers-on who want to break into it in spite of limited ability and egos the size of Mexico – this is a charming riff on the pitfalls of pretention from an unlikely but comic double act.

C nova, 0845 260 1234, until 31 Aug (not 19), 5.10pm, £9.50–£11.50 (£7.50–£9.50).

The Frida Kahlo of Penge West

  • 3 stars

KPS Productions A two-woman play about one woman's ridiculous struggle to create a one-woman play about Frida Kahlo… with two women in it. When quiet, unassuming Zoë agrees to let just ditched, angry, university chum Ruth stay the night, little does she imagine how her life will be blown apart. Written and directed by…