"a must-see for anyone"
-Broadway World-

"a fascinating biographical footnote"
-The Daily Telegraph-

"phenomenal production"
-The Independent-

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"Molina is simply sensational"

Critic Rating

4 May 2018, Wyndham's Theatre
Guest Reviewer Guest Reviewer
John Logan’s Red was first seen in London in 2009, in a Michael Grandage production at the Donmar Warehouse which went on to transfer to Broadway to huge acclaim, winning six Tonys. Nine years down the line, it returns to the West End to the Wyndham’s with original star Alfred Molina once again playing famed artist Mark Rothko, but with Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter films, and star of US TV show How To Get Away With Murder) replacing Eddie Redmayne.

It is a fascinating look at an artist at work, Christopher Oram’s design putting us squarely in his workshop and Grandage having his actors actually putting preparing the canvases that formed the backdrop for the iconic colour-block paintings. If nothing else, it is gripping to see the pair at work – artist and assistant, master and apprentice. But there’s much more to play at heart, debates about art and commerce, how the young will always overtake the old, the nature of life itself.

To be honest, there’s nothing in the text that quite matches up to the exhilaration of that scene of synchronised painting, Logan is less interested in fleshing out the biography of Rothko than exploring these larger questions about art and life, the legacy any artist can hope to leave in a culture that is always looking for the hot new thing. As such, it has a touch of staginess about it, as Enoch has a hard sell with the constant questions and challenges of his fictitious assistant stretching credulity.

But he does well at showing the emotional progression of Ken, the impact of discovering how those who we consider our heroes often turn out to be all-too-human. And Molina is simply sensational as the irascible, complex artist struggling to deal with his place in the art establishment, and the world at large. Alternately angry and tender, he is ferociously intense and makes this power struggle an entirely compelling watch.

Reviewed by Ian Foster.


Broadway World
Molina's performance as Rothko is simply stunning. In one scene, he can transform from a gruff has-been, more content to drink and smoke as he looks at his own work than actually paint, to a terrifying, passionate artist defending his views.
Dominic Cavendish
In this beautiful production, intensifications of lighting suddenly deepen and enrich the colours, transforming the studio’s hangings. Just what are we looking at?
Paul Taylor
It's a pleasure to see his production 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.
Andrzej Lukowski
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.
Mark Shenton
With only two characters onstage, it sometimes threaten to be talkative; but thanks to a supremely artful production, Rothko's art also comes to life as another character that transcends mere language.
Natasha Tripney
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.
Sarah Crompton
Quite the best moment comes when the two men race to paint the background for a canvas; it has a frenzy of excitement and skill that tells you everything you need to know about the commitment an artist needs.