Thursday, September 21

Picasso: Le Monstre Sacre – Assembly Roxy

Guy Masterton’s name attached to any Fringe production usually guarantees quality and this piece is no exception.

Brilliantly acted by Peter Tate, who is electrifyingly terrifying as the human Minotaur Pablo Picasso. One cannot love the Minotaur, and live, Tate portrays the Infamous womaniser as the ultimate home fatale, as he crawls from needy journalist to idolising art student, all looking for a part of him that he is more than willing to give, for a price.

Tate starts the show astride a paint-splashed ladder, at the top of his game, later in his life, looking out intently at a single spotlight, the sun. Behind and around him a muslin cloth hangs limply to the floor from a high semi-circlular rail, his canvas, but also the thin veil that surrounds his boudoir, the spiders lair, to which many a young lady succumbs. The only other item is a single pillow, Picasso’s casting couch.

Tate dismounts his ladder, into his sanctuary, and stares with piercing eyes at the lady members of the front row, you women are lucky I’m already dead. We believe it.

It helps that Tate, with grey hair and balding head bears a striking resemblance to the elder Picasso, the charismatic out-of-control narcissist, celebrity of his day, who was never called to account until after his death. A story which strikes a chord.

As a way of trying to get a divorce from his first wife, he Instructs his latest lover to present her newborn child to his wife and tell her that, ‘this too is a work by Picasso’, probably sums up just how much of a B he was.

This is a physical piece, which has Tate shining by the end, as his hips get a good work out both in his den or tangoing around the space. Investing life into a corpse is hard work!

By the end of Tate’s monologue, I must admit to feeling a little short-changed, in this potted history of Picasso’s love life, I’m not even sure if Picasso loved or hated women? At one point likening his female conquests to dogs, ‘doesn’t one poodle resemble another’. It is also a shame that more was not discussed about his art and his method, but I guess copyright protected the actual showing of his work.

This is Picasso, the man, flawed but brilliant, probably just about sums it up.

Reviewer: Greg Holstead

Reviewed: 12th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.