Now in previews: Anthony Hopkins as Picasso in “Blue”

This is a review of the play Red, by the writer John Logan, from the Donmar Warehouse currently at Broadway’s Golden (what’s with all the colors?) Theatre.

Yes, this is a Rothko. No, the play's not called "Blue".

Folks, the Tonys are coming!  The Tonys!  The 64th annual American Theatre Wing’s Antoinette Perry Awards!  (Try to contain your excitement.)

Recently I had a chance to catch a show in Tony contention, the excellent new play Red.  It’s a transfer from London’s powerhouse Donmar Warehouse (I’ve actually been there, and yes, not the rhyme in the last sentence, please), typed by an American better known for his work in La-La-Land, helmed by the artistic director of the Donmar, Michael Grandage, and featuring two actors, Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne.

Perhaps you enjoyed my work as Doc Ock in "Spider-Man 2".

The play, a classically structured (in every good sense of the word) two-hander concerns the volatile, egotistical and brilliant painter Mark Rothko (if you have 72 million lying around, you can hang his work) and his young assistant, whose parents were murdered young.  It takes places during the time Rothko was commissioned to do a series of murals for the Four Seasons Restaurant.

And there’s the plot, really, as the point is to watch Molina brilliantly personify Rothko as he holds forth on matters of Art and Commerce.  And while you might think, Oh, boy, this is gonna be spinach playwriting… , it’s anything but.  It a tight, lively, impassioned, spirited and surprisingly funny evening.  Far better than other original plays that are also up for the Tony.

Certainly much credit must go to both Molina, who is nothing short of commanding at all moments (I’ve seen him both in Yasmine Reza’s Art on Broadway and as a definitive Lopakhin in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard in Los Angeles) and this young British actor, Eddie Redmayne, who has an impressive theater resume and who ought to win the Tony solely for holding his own in the obviously less-interesting part.

So, to sum up:  A worthy new play, with impressive acting and a bravura moment where the two men prime a canvas, yes, red and make you feel thrillingly alive.

A moment in the theatre worth seeing this show for.

Unless you ask my father, who slept through most of the production and vastly preferred the overrated revival of Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers a few years back.

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3 Responses to “Now in previews: Anthony Hopkins as Picasso in “Blue””

  1. Rock Solid Says:

    I think Alfred Molina playing ME, trying to get that damn Rothko duplicated for my bride-to-be, would be a MUCH more compelling play! Anyway, this blog should win a Tony! (Or, whatever blogs win?)

  2. coming soon: “Please Give 2: Give More, M.F.” « Wally's Blog Says:

    […] Yes, in the flick characters are mean and do bad things (i.e., again like life), but there are funny moments and beautiful moments and low-key moments.  It’s shot in New York City, is independent, and is a fine alternative to Sex & the City 2:  Will Anything Kill These Materialistic Whores?. And my father, who’s usually so-so on these indie flicks, seemed to like it, or at least didn’t fall asleep. […]

  3. Go See This Play (Please) « Wally's Blog Says:

    […] a moment and think of the last time you saw an original play (for me it was the Tony-award winning Red, which was phenomenal).  And the time before that (for me it was the Tony-nominated In The Next […]

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