(seen at the afternoon performance on 19th May 2018). This is a flawed
diamond. The bold sparkle, or reds, are the performances. Molina simply is Mark
Rothko, artist on the edge. Fiercely intelligent, arrogant, self-righteous yet
tortured and grounded enough to understand the game he is a key piece in. Alfred
Enoch (Ken) is his tragically orphaned assistant, unrecognised and not willingly
allowed so much as a guarded thought.
Together, they breathe compelling animation into John Logan's sometimes
poetic, fragrantly twisting dialogue. The best is a discussion of colour, but
along the way artists recent and classic - visual, written and philosophical are
discussed in meaningful yet thrillingly casual constructs.
The only false note, a true flaw, is one dramatic moment too many in the back
story. Though it sets up for a neat second or so late in the play, had it been
jettisoned altogether, the monkey moves an argument that the entire piece may be
just that little more intellectually satisfying, by staying on the highest level
it sets itself.
That aside, Grandage is very right to revive this. Christopher Oram gives us
a studio that, if not as intimate as the Donmar original, still functions
perfectly well from the rear circle. Neil Austin keeps the artificial light as
Rothko would have liked it, and both contribute greatly to the whole.
90 minutes of 5 star quality, is the monkey verdict.