REVIEW: Falling in Love with Frida @ Dance City, Newcastle (15.10.15) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Caroline Bowditch: Falling in Love with Frida, image by Anthony Hopwood

I’ve been a little obsessed with Frida Kahlo ever since I realised she slept in a bed with a skeleton above it. 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 are highly creative, both face challenging disability which, whilst shaping their characters, doesn’t define them. You’re pulled into Frida’s world immediately, from the entry music played as you arrive that Frida played in her house, down to the neon cacti which gave the audience a modern taste of Mexico.

There was a real intimacy and warmth to the production. Caroline tells her tale alongside two dancers and a BSL interpreter, and 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 and 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. 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.

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