REVIEW: Michael Grandage’s production of RED screened to cinemas in UK and USA ★★★★

I’m extremely late to the party here and the critically acclaimed production of John Logan’s Red with Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch was actually screened in cinemas across the UK and North America last week on 7 November 2018. I was lucky enough to have access to view this production ahead of time but due to the chaos that ensues around the West End Wilma awards every year, I am only just finding the opportunity to sit down and write about it. But despite the cinema screening date having passed, I still find myself wanting to share my thoughts on this piece of ‘art’.

What do you see when you look at a work of art? Perhaps just colour but to the artist it is usually so much more. How does it make you feel? What emotions does it evoke inside your soul? Artist Mark Rothko has been commissioned to paint a series of works of art to hang in the Four Seasons hotel in New York. He employs a young assistant, Ken, to help him around the studio and the eager young art graduate is ready to soak up everything he can from the experience. Over the course of this ninety-minute production, the two characters question and test each other about what art really is and what it means to them, much like we do when we view it ourselves.

Filmed at the Wyndham’s Theatre, in Summer 2018, the production is based on Michael Grandage’s original 2009 Donmar Warehouse production, that went on to win six Tony Awards including for Best Play and Best Direction of a Play. Whilst perhaps not the greatest play ever written, the beauty of the set and the colours displayed deserves to have been captured on film and thankfully the cinematography in this production does justice to the piece.

Whilst a little confusing and art-heavy at times, this filmed production is a piece of art itself and I am so glad more and more productions are being filmed and released, so that those who don’t have the opportunity to see them in London can still manage to see them elsewhere.

Photo: Johan Persson

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