Playground Theatre, London – until 4 February 2023
Grandeous narcissistic behaviour is central to the performance throughout Picasso, which brings the world renowned artist Pablo Picasso to life in the production currently playing at the Playground Theatre.
Peter Tate’s performance reflects the barbaric treatment of the ladies whom he chose to lure into his bed chamber, promising each of them undying love and immortality within his paintings. Believing his words were verbatim, they fell for his charm, and I am in no doubt that he meant them all, even if it was fleetingly.
Excruciating embarrassment washed over me while watching Tate (Picasso) dance during the performance, reminiscent of the “drunk Uncle” at a family wedding who believes he is “god’s gift” to women. His self belief that he could do anything perfectly encouraging him to continue. Yet, in reality, he was as floored and imperfect as the rest of society.
The screened sections where each of his ladies comes to life are cast onto the stage curtain behind the artists’ working circle. It is disjointed slightly by the curtains and the fragmentation adds another dimension to the disjointed life of the artist. However, I felt a larger variety of paint stains on the artists clothing would have added more of a realistic touch to the costumes.
Picasso wasn’t going to win any popularity contests or parenting awards. Every person in his life was treated as disposable or as his latest piece of artwork. They served a purpose to his ego until he became bored and abruptly moved onto the next obsession to serve his own overly inflated flawed ego further. He was uninterested in the trail of devastation left behind.
Director Guy Masterson captures the essence and bullish character, which encompassed the artist. Highlighting his flawed personality and horrendous behaviour through Tate’s convincing performance. The production doesn’t offer excuses or apologies, just a raw and uncomfortable portrayal of the man behind the art.
For more information about Picasso and future productions at The Playground Theatre please click on the link below.
Photo credit: Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni Nux Photography
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