Show Reviews

American Stage

“An astonishing event…Exciting…Outstanding…I can’t think of anything else like it… A formidable work of imagination…Just when you thought that old-fashioned realism had all but obliterated theatrical innovation, CASA BLUE comes along to say the avant-guard is alive and steaming…The play is fast-paced, disjointed and deliberately jarring. It’s also a visual phantasmagoria, macabre and even nightmarish…You can’t ignore the force of what you’ve sat through, it’s inventiveness, unpredictability, technical brilliance, and modernity. This is theatre as if written by Stravinsky or maybe Shostakovich: grating, uncompromising, alien, unnatural…You come away shocked and overwhelmed…The play has a coherence that’s inarguably artistic…You have to admire the writing troika for having the courage to use Kahlo’s life as the occasion for this bizarre and unsparing drama…A rarity for American Stage: an avant-guard piece that’s getting its first production…I’m impressed with American Stage for making the decision – and having the daring – to debut it in the Bay area.”

-Creative Loafing


“Stunning…engrossing…Raw and bare and exotic…literally overflowing with life and color and anguish…Like a new ride at a theme park, every twist and turn has an unanticipated thrill…The whole thing comes at you with a screaming jolt and keeps on a-coming…How strange the mixture, how full the experience…You will wish you had a rewind button.”

-The Gazette


“An inspiring docudrama and fitting celebration of the artist on the centennial of her birth…With so much material to assimilate, it’s a wonder the script didn’t end up disjointed and unintelligible, particularly since the play rejects the conventional linear format. Instead, the meandering narrative is self-sustaining, and the script contains occasional shards of poetic genius…Olson, Garcia and Childs sort out all the puzzle pieces in this mélange approach, reeling from the catastrophic to the comic in a matter of moments.”

-Seminole Beacon Leader


“Startling…Eccentric…Kahlo's life as a series of surreal vignettes…[Olson] and his co-authors created a mosaic, "a picture made of broken things," that defies any attempt to fashion a coherent, linear narrative out of Kahlo's life…This is an ingenious approach to Kahlo's complex personality, and Olson masterfully directs this exceptionally ambitious production, which is stuffed with complex sound and lighting cues, as well as the occasional appearance of marionettes that descend into the action…[CASA BLUE] more closely resembles a peyote hallucination guided by the spirit of a self-absorbed woman frantically trying to mythologize her physical suffering, her emotional turmoil and her modest artistic output.”

-St. Petersburg Times (Tom Veleo)


“Passionate…fascinating…moving…nightmarish…A warts and all portrait, told in a multimedia format designed for the MTV generation, with a nod to Kahlo's own artistic vision…filled with moments of beauty and poignancy…It makes you feel like you are peeking inside a Mexican home, with lots of surprise touches, some achieved by the moody and spiritually alive lighting by Joseph P. Oshry…Each [actress] has her own individual strengths, but together they convey a complete portrait, at least one as intriguing as the portrait Kahlo painted of herself…There is plenty within this sometimes curiously told story to inspire and move you. And you have to cheer a local company that takes a chance on an original production that can draw in an audience looking for something new and adventurous.”

-Sarasota Herald Tribune


“Watching Frida flash by: The life of a dying Frida Kahlo replays as a vivid pastiche of art, passion and struggle…a multimedia production, including clips from some of the movies Kahlo loved, such as King Kong, Tarzan and Frankenstein; puppets and masks; film and a slide show of her art.”

–St. Petersburg Times (John Fleming)


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