‘Rather rowdily, raucous bit of good fun’: The Frida Kahlo of Penge West – Golden Goose Theatre

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Golden Goose Theatre, London – until 26 June 2021

What is it about words that end in -nge that make so many of them so satisfying to say. The highlight of The Great British Sewing Bee was undoubtedly the number of times people said flange and so I was delighted with the focus on saying Penge that started off this play.

Chris Larner’s The Frida Kahlo of Penge West has previously pootled around the fringe of both Edinburgh and London and now re-emerges at one of the newest (and friendliest) theatres in the English capital, Camberwell’s Golden Goose Theatre. And it proves a rather rowdily, raucous bit of good fun.

It’s a cautionary tale about reuniting with lost-lost university friends. Zoe lives a quiet life in South East London, nurturing a massive crush on her boss, but finds herself substantially encouraged out of her shell when a chance encounter with old uni pal and frustrated actress Ruth ends up with her staying on her sofa and shaking up her life.

The level of theatrical in-jokes might deter the casual viewer but there’s such vibrancy in the performances of Cecily Nash and Laura Kirman that they can’t help but win you over. Nash’s sinks her teeth deeply in Ruth’s outrageous flamboyancy and Kirman does a marvellous job in showing that Zoe’s meekness isn’t quite all it seems. Great fun.

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Ian Foster
Since 2003, Ian Foster has been writing reviews of plays, sometimes with a critical element, on his blog Ought to Be Clowns, which has been listed as one of the UK's Top Ten Theatre Blogs by Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak. He averages more than 350+ shows a year. He says: "Call me a reviewer, a critic or a blogger, and you will apparently put someone or other's nose out of joint! So take it or leave it, essentially this is my theatrical diary, recording everything I go to see at the theatre in London and beyond, and venturing a little into the worlds of music and film/TV where theatrical connections can be made."
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Ian Foster on FacebookIan Foster on RssIan Foster on Twitter
Ian Foster
Since 2003, Ian Foster has been writing reviews of plays, sometimes with a critical element, on his blog Ought to Be Clowns, which has been listed as one of the UK's Top Ten Theatre Blogs by Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak. He averages more than 350+ shows a year. He says: "Call me a reviewer, a critic or a blogger, and you will apparently put someone or other's nose out of joint! So take it or leave it, essentially this is my theatrical diary, recording everything I go to see at the theatre in London and beyond, and venturing a little into the worlds of music and film/TV where theatrical connections can be made."

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