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Review: Woman Before A Glass, Jermyn Street Theatre - reflections of an extraordinary woman

Peggy Guggenheim (Judy Rosenblatt), daughter of one of the less wealthy Guggenheims - "lowly millionaires not billionaires", is teasing the Italian press from the balcony of her Venice palazzo while deciding what to wear for an interview.

Woman Before A Glass, Jermyn Street TheatreShe roots through a pile of designer dresses bemoaning the fact that her maid has taken the day off and reminiscing about each garment.

If you don't know much about Peggy Guggenheim then this opening scene is a great introduction touching upon the key ingredients of her life and personality: Art, love and family.

Peggy Guggenheim isn't a shrinking violet, she is demanding, intelligent, flirtatious and loving and that is just scratching the surface.

Writer Lanie Robertson gives us three scenes from which to paint a portrait of this extraordinary woman who must have been both fascinating, fun and infuriating to be around.

In each scene we see Peggy in a real-time scenario dealing with things like gallery directors and preparing for her artist daughter's opening exhibition, as well as hearing her recollections about her life and the people in it.

She talks about the night, during the Second World War, when the Nazi's came knocking on her door in the South of France as casually as she talks about spending two days in bed with Samuel Beckett.

Giving oral sex is mentioned in the same breath as having cocktails - this is a woman who is certainly not ashamed of having a sexual appetite and satisfying it.

Art is an equal passion. She is not only attracted to talent and creativity, modern art is something deeply visceral and philosophical to her: "Modern art is never an answer, it is a question."

Beneath the surface what you also get is a sense of what it was like living through some of the biggest events of the 20th Century and a sense of a woman who has had to deal with a great deal of personal tragedy and loss.

Judy Rosenblatt holds you as captivated as Peggy Guggenheim must have done wherever she went.

Woman Before A Glass is a rich and colourful play about a rich, colourful and extraordinary woman and I'm giving it four stars.

It is 90 minutes long without an interval and is at the Jermyn Street Theatre until 3 February.