Review: Mrs Picasso

Catch the touching one-woman show at Strictly Designers United

Mrs Picasso opened last Friday at Strictly Designers United, and while it may not be the happiest of shows to watch on a Friday night, the touching story lines and intense performance will make you rethink your regular weekend plans.

The one-woman show centers on Mrs Picasso also known as Olga Khokhlova, the woman the famous artist never left and as the playbill tells us, 'the only one who had the courage to leave him'. In monologue she recalls her life living with the famous painter of the 20th century and the never-ending battles with his mistresses, before the story flips to the tale of one of those 'other women'.

Starred and produced by Carlijn van Ramshorst, former host of Dutch children's TV show HuisjeBoompjeBeestje, the play takes place in the tiny, but cosy Strictly Designers United space. Sitting almost face-to-face with the actress, it isn't difficult for the audience to be captivated from the minute Ramshort enters the stage and stay engaged with the emotional turmoil of the tale of two women in Picasso's life.

"Mrs-Picasso--"First we're introduced to Olga Khokhlova, aka Mrs Picasso. Bitter, spiteful and insufferable, Khokhlova is the victim of Pablo’s ego. As she slugs down her red wine, we see a faint glimpse of a woman once in love. Once happy with her husband,she is now living as a betrayed wife, mother and artist in an impassioned and hysterical manner. Ramshort's acting here truly captures the essence of Khokhlova.

Ramshorts transforms from Khokhlova into Francoise seamlessly. Known as one of Picasso’s many lovers, the less hysterical Francoise meets Pablo at the age of 22. Then old enough to be her father, he takes her as his partner, mother of his two children and an artistic muse. Francoise spends much of her time battling with Khokhlova, who never stops stalking Picasso. Her story may be less heard but is just as captivating.

Don't shy away when you hear it’s a one-woman play about a scorned wife and a lover. It’s intense and heartbreaking, but truly enjoyable to watch.

Mrs Picasso is at 55 Fuxing Dong Lu, near Zhongshan Lu from April 10-12, at 8pm. Reserve tickets at 180RMB/presale, 200RMB/door.