Whether for her uncompromising paintings, her feminist credentials or her bold and eclectic dress sense, Frida Kahlo has been seized upon as an icon for a hundred causes.

Long before Tracy Emin, the gender-bending, mono-browed Surrealist was using art to tell her personal narrative – the tram car crash that almost crippled her at 18, her marriage to the philandering Diego Rivera (incidents she referred to as “the two grave accidents of my life”), her many male and female lovers and her political passion.

Is it possible to offer a fresh perspective on such a well-documented life?

Jon Bonfiglio thinks so.

The producer of an award-winning one-woman play about Kahlo, he says he wouldn’t have touched a straightforward biography “with a bargepole”.

Instead, Viva La Vida is a reworking of the Frida Kahlo myth, approached from a very personal perspective. “We’ve come in to the story through her madness,”

Jon says. “It’s set inside her head and the audience almost become the ghosts of characters from her life.

“She is looking back on what’s happened from the view point of someone who was very successful but could have been more so had she not been in someone else’s shadow.

“It’s not folkloric, it’s not her life story – it’s more painful and raw than that.”

Written by Mexican playwright Huberto Robles, Frida is played by Gael Le Cornec, who spends two hours in make-up each night to become “the spitting image” of the artist. It is important, Jon says, that she is instantly, undeniably recognisable, to make the exploding of the icon more effective.

“The first reaction is, ‘Christ, she looks like Frida’ and then you find yourself forgetting that’s who you are watching, because it becomes so personal.

“I’m really interested in Frida as a person and in her iconography but I wouldn’t have produced this play if I didn’t think there was a more universal significance to it.”

  • Starts 8.30pm, tickets cost £10/£8. Call 07800 983 290