PICASSO, 3 Stars

The Playground Theatre
25th Jan – 4th Feb 2023

“Undisputed genius, visionary, and artist… with which no lover could compete… yet, without whose love he could not live. Picasso lived and loved like no other… His obsession reflected in his art but equally destroyed his subjects… Should he be condemned or forgiven?
Peter Tate, multi-award winner and Founder and Artistic Director of The  Playground Theatre, brilliantly incarnates Picasso’s presence in an  explosive, deeply passionate voyage of self-revelation leaving the  audience as his jury. Terry d’Alfonso’s critically acclaimed play is co-adapted for solo performance and directed by Guy Masterson, Olivier Award winner for  ‘Morecambe’ and director of the recent Olivier nominated West End hit, ‘The Shark Is Broken’.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 3 Stars

A 60 min play that’s a revival for Peter Tate as Artistic Director of the Playground Theatre, in which he performs the role of PICASSO. An accomplished actor who commands the stage in the manner of Picasso’s reputation. A womaniser who allegedly had women falling over themselves to be with him – all performed realistically by Tate in shirt, trousers and bare feet looking every bit the man himself.

Some nice ethereal video content projected onto the soft net chiffon drapes created by Steven Dean Moore. Peppering the production to show the women that come into, and rarely leave, Picasso’s life.

The Sound was very effective – a hidden microphone that added echo to Tate’s voice at pertinent moments, impeccably cue’d by the Stage Manager.

The Set was simple and comprised of a large paint-splattered white floor fabric cloth, a circular set of net curtains, and a rear hung white cloth. On top of this was an old-fashioned wooden ladder. I did wonder why Picasso would have a ladder yet no easel or pallette. I concerned that the ladder was straddled and used by Tate despite the legs not fully pulled out and the side ropes lacking even a full extension knot. But then I saw the metal rails holding the net curtains, rigged on plastic cable ties, which have zero load rating, and I was distracted from the H&S of the ladder and prayed that the production would complete it’s run without any accidents from the unsafe rigging of the set.

I’m not sure I learnt anything surprising about Picasso. I felt somehow disappointed that there wasn’t any great revelation that I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t gone to see this show.

The production showcases the talent of Peter Tate and I would urge any aspiring actor to go see the brillinat performance of  Tate in action.

Photo Credit: Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni Nux Photography

Listings Info
PICASSO by Terry d’AlfonsoAdapted & Directed by Guy MastersonPerformed by Peter TateThe Playground Theatre, 25 January – 4 February, 2023

Playground Theatre presentsPICASSOby Terry d’AlfonsoDirected  by Guy MastersonThe Playground TheatreLatimer RdLondonW10 6RQWebsite: www.theplaygroundtheatre.londonBox Office: 020 8960 0110Ticket Prices: £10 – £22Age Recommendation:  15+ years Running time: 60minsSocial mediaFacebook: theplaygroundtheatreTwitter:  @PlaygroundW10Instagram: theplaygroundtheatre