Trestle in collaboration with Increpación Danza
Unity Theatre (3rd-4th October 2008)

Reviewed by Megan Agnew

Her name was Lola…yes, she was a showgirl, but, as this fabulous production attests, there was another, more elusive personality to the notorious Spanish dancer. Lola Montez comes from humble Irish roots to transform herself into the infamous performer and courtesan. Living wildly and dancing energetically, Lola builds herself a persona of notoriety and conducts a host of liaisons with many men of note, including the King of Bavaria, who makes her a Countess.

The play opens with Lola on stage, about to deliver what is to be her last performance. Interrupted by a hostile intrusion from a member of the audience, Lola revisits the dramas of her life and tells her own version of events as she is forced to justify her actions. Lola lays out her remarkable life story in all its fabulous detail, revealing two sides of a very public persona. She silently asks of us not to judge by appearance.

The tragedy and tremendous sorrow lying behind her façade is a stark contrast to the flamboyant image that she instinctively conjures. As passionate, witty and seductive as Lola herself, this play by Trestle is engaging and the energetic Flamenco spirit the heart of it is. Both Georgina Roberts as Lola and Fiona Putnam - who plays her travelling and performing companion Miriam - are excellent in their performances. The play is set to a captivating rhythm from the talents of Flamenco guitarist Ricardo Garcia, which left me spellbound. A rich, fiery production celebrating the life of a troubled but fascinating character, whose passion for life fuels her dances and pulses through every fibre of her being.

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