American abstract expressionist artist Mark Rothko didn’t just paint in red. He painted in delicate golds, cobalt, tangerine and shades of greens, pinks, blues, and dazzling yellows. He produced abstract paintings five to six feet tall, often fuelled by high intensity and historical commentary of socio-political events – the atom bomb, WWII and death camps. He believed that a painting had to measure up the tragic trajectory of human history.
Returning back to the West End – after a successful run at the Donmar Warehouse in 2009 and winning six Tony Awards at Broadway – is John Logan’s Red, with director Michael Grandage and legendary actor Alfred Molina. There’s real bite in this 90-minute play – a splash of witty, delicately woven dialogue between the ‘serious’ artist and his young, bright-eyed assistant, Ken (tremendously performed by Alfred Enoch). Red spills the truth on Rothko’s chilling occupation with the art world during a crucial period of the 20th century, while musing, unapologetically, against his assistant on deep ontological questions, such as ‘what is art?’
The Ferryman from the mind of Jez Butterworth’s Northern
It only took one day for The Ferryman to sell out at The Royal Court Theatre last year. The thrilling play about the political and psychological upheaval of, scriptwriter Jez Butterworth’s, divided character Quinn Carney and his family life in County Armagh drew the audience and many critics, to love it.
I met Christian Slater last night. Let me say that again, ‘I met Christian Slater last night’. It was one of those chance occasions where one minute you’re doing what you usually do (for someone like me that’s going to the theatre) and then, all the sudden, the moment becomes an event – one that you’ll never forget. Yes, I was completely star struck and I have no shame in telling anyone that, why? Guess what? It’s not always about looks. I admit Slater, who is now 48 years old, is still ‘hot’, but given his rip-roaring performance last night, I am convinced he is as great a stage actor as he is a film actor.
The Playhouse theatre is currently showing David Mamet’s 1984 Pulitzer price-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross. It describes the lives of four real estate salesmen in Chicago, hustling hard and shoving their egos at anyone who likes the sound of a juicy deal. Glengarry Glen Ross was transformed into a Hollywood blockbuster in 1992. Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin and Ed Harris were the few to headline the movie. It became one of the most highly-recommended films for sales training.
This one is a bit like marmite. You’re either going to hate Natalie Abrahami’s new production of Arthur Kopit’s made-for-radio play or love it for its unparallel way of constructing a temporary experience of a stroke patient who suffers from aphasia. This 90-minute play has you at the edge of the seat attempting to understand what it really going on in front of you. Emotions are on overdrive; it’s a mixture of confusion, empathy, uncertainty, and optimism, which kicks in once the play gets moving.
During the first 15 minutes, I was ready to give up, but by the end of it I felt I had learned a lot more and was pleased I stayed to see it all. Arthur Kopit’s 1978 play hasn’t been seen on the stage for 30 years. His father suffered a debilitating stroke, which inspired Kopit to write Wings. Emily Stilson is an amalgam of two women who were both patients at the same rehab centre his father was being treated at.
Brace yourself for a dialogue of quick-wit and verbal interrogation. Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill go at it full of guts and poise in Edward Albee’s 1962 play, ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I mean, that’s what I saw when I sat in the front row of the Harold Pinter Theatre.
Hill and Staunton are accompanied by Luke Treadaway and Imogen Poots for a sweeping display of word wars and mockery, set in the living room of a home in New England. Both leads perform as married couple George and Matha in what appears to be a life consumed of fickle domestic fights which get louder as the hour moves on.
“The production’s beaming star, Denise Gough plugs away in to our addict with sheer authenticity. She becomes the single most important focal point of the stage – in fact, she becomes the audience’s addiction. Fuelled by energy and intense charisma, her performance strength is so spot-on that you’ll want to lean forward, get off your seat, just, so you can get closer to her and the highly stimulated stage. It is no wonder that she won the Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Actress 2015.”
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For me MAKROPULOS.— Karita Mattila (@MattilaKarita) February 19, 2019
Luckily Jenůfa wasn’t put on there.
I love KAT’A.
I don’t mind being in second place. Well. With Cunning little Vixen leading I do - a bit.
I mean; PEOPLE! C’mon - go vote. Elina it is. MAKROPULOS❤️
Without having seen Come From Away yet I'm already reading this tweet thinking 'I know, I know'. twitter.com/rochellebalboa…
Spent the whole of my lunch break reading reviews of Come From Away from bloggers. 👍 Traditional criticism is becoming harder and harder to stomach when many paper critics now seem to find petty reasons to pick holes in a show successfully spreading some good in the world.— Rochelle Bisson (@rochellebalboa) February 19, 2019