A review round-up of Red starring Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch at the Wyndham’s Theatre, London.
Michael Grandage revives his multi-award winning 2009 Donmar Warehouse and Broadway production of Red by John Logan, for the first time in London’s West End.
Stage and screen actor Alfred Molina reprises his critically acclaimed performance as the American abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko. The play tells the story of the artist’s greatest challenge as he attempts to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting.
Alfred Molina is joined by rising star Alfred Enoch of US television drama series How to Get Away With Murder as his assistant Ken.
With excellent performances from Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch, the West End revival is criticised for its “mannered dialogue” and celebrated for its striking design.
Red is booking until 28th July 2018 at the Wyndham’s Theatre, London
Read a round-up of reviews below.
"Alfred Molina's portrait is as layered as a Rothko canvas"
"Michael Grandage directs a well-judged revival of John Logan’s play about the artist and his assistant. It is one of the few plays that offers a plausible portrait of an artist at work.
The virtue of Molina’s performance is in suggesting Rothko knows full well that, in painting murals for a swish eaterie, he is betraying his own ideals.”
"Alfred Molina plays Mark Rothko in a phenomenal production of a flawed play"
"Michael Grandage’s superlative staging of the piece is uncommon in the way it also brings home the overwhelming physical presence of great pictures and the day-to-day labour that goes into their making."
"It’s a pleasure to see his production back in the West End at long last, with Alfred Molina digging ever deeper in his riveting portrayal of Rothko and Alfred Enoch putting his persuasive stamp on the role originally played by Eddie Redmayne."
"Alfred Molina is superb"
“Taut revival of the play about Mark Rothko that highlights its limitations as well as its strengths"
"Molina inhabits the artist’s contradictions with the completeness one expects given his history with the role. His Rothko is a creature of ego and conviction, but also self-doubt; he’s aggressive, charismatic and vulnerable all at the same time. It’s a superb performance, one of real nuance and immense skill."
"Enoch brings a completely different energy to the production. He’s a warmer presence than Redmayne was and he reframes some of the play’s discussion about, say, the symbolism of blackness in art. He invigorates the play, while also making its limitations apparent."
"The immense convenience of Ken’s murdered parents as a plot point, the red of their blood staining his memory, feels even more contrived on second viewing. There are also moments when the play feels like an essay."
"Christopher Oram’s set is a kind of glorious abattoir-temple, ravishingly lit by Neil Austin.”
"Alfred Molina brilliantly captures energy and grandeur of Mark Rothko"
"There are certainly moments when John Logan’s portrait of Mark Rothko feels like a sermon or a lecture. But it captures the grandeur of this famously imperious painter’s vision."
"Michael Grandage’s precisely choreographed production is sensitive to the play's tensions and rhythms, and there’s a glorious scene in which the master and his apprentice prime a bare canvas — an exhilarating ritual that bears out Rothko's idea of art as something intimate and miraculous.”
"This powerful revival just hits the sweet spot and Alfred Molina is a force of nature as Rothko."
"Michael Grandage directs and, at 90 minutes straight through, he builds up the layers, not unlike the paint on a Rothko canvas, until you care deeply about both men. The connection only gets more powerful. The themes of student and teacher, father and son pulsate right along with those paintings on stage."
"Red has smashing performances and is directed and designed with great care and skill"
"John Logan wrote the edge-of-your-seat film Gladiator, but in this wordy play of his there’s a lot of listening to Rothko to be done – often while watching paint dry.
"Red’s compensating reward is two smashing performances in a show directed by Michael Grandage and designed by Christopher Oram with enormous care and skill. Whether this rather chuntering play deserves such loving attention is another matter.”
"Alfred Molina is a mighty Mark Rothko in this intense, visually stunning drama about the agony of art"
"Michael Grandage’s production is just magnificent, the stage dominated by hulking, unworldly ochre paintings (designer Christopher Oram is on the form of his life)."
"Though in fact, the true last scene is not a verbal one. It’s a painting, spectacularly lit by Neil Austin, that looks genuinely alive, bars of black with two pulsing red strips of colour like a gateway to somewhere far beyond. It is more powerful than words.”"