Michael Grandage, the MGC Artistic Director, directs the first ever UK revival of John Logan’s play Red, starring Alfred Molina as Mark Rothko.
In Red, American abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko finds himself threatened by a new generation of artists. Beneath this threat and the watchful gaze of his young assistant, Ken, Rothko undertakes his greatest challenge yet: to create a definitive work of art for an extraordinary setting.
Award-winning stage and screen actor Alfred Molina received critical acclaim for his performance as Rothko, and now reprises that role alongside rising star Alfred Enoch: known for his role on the US television drama How to Get Away With Murder. Enoch plays Rothko’s young assistant Ken.
John Logan and Michael Grandage have worked together previously on the feature film Genius, and on Peter and Alice with Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw: a play which formed part of MCG’s inaugural season in 2013 in the West End.
In 2009, the world premiere of Red (also directed by Grandage) won six Tony Awards, including Best Play, for its run at the Donmar Warehouse.
Book your tickets for Red at the Wyndham’s Theatre in London today!
It almost didn't matter that the lead character was Mark Rothko, because the two-man construction of the dialogues helped convey to the audience arguments from both sides of the various themes and questions that were brought up, despite how strong Rothko's opinions were on each matter. "What is art?", "What makes an artist?", "Who is art for?" and just as importantly, "Where does art come from?" are questions that Molina and Enoch danced around, offering insightful perspectives, framed masterfully around the portrayed period in Rothko's life. Rothko was large, important; his ego evident and his presence definitely felt. His assistant's first meeting with him for example made the audience sure where the power on stage lies. Throughout the play, Enoch's assistant character, Ken, was steadily empowered to the point where he would more readily question Rothko's views as time passed (the period in the piece covering roughly two years). It was somewhat relieving to see the layers of pretension that encased Rothko's words finally chiseled away when his hypocrisies were brought to attention by his assistant. What we saw was a masterful artist stripped down, not to humiliate or belittle, but to humanise him, and allow his art-loving assistant to begin the process of connecting as a fellow person. The staging was a treat of lighting tricks that made the giant red and black murals almost dance in the background of the scenes, and one invigorating piece of choreography was a literal dance of feverish painting that was a welcome beat in the narrative to give us a rest from the chatter, while allowing us to see how well the two characters were getting along. Scene transitions were conducted often with the actors swapping out the central artwork (all very good reproductions of actual Rothko works) that hung in its dominant position on the stage. Other staging elements included their busying themselves with the preparation of various canvases and paints, which led the audience to believe we were watching the good old-fashioned practice of painting, an oddly historic feeling considering the prevalence of digital artwork we consume everyday. I did start the show rather annoyed by the "pretentious artist" routine playing out, and although it was often comical, it was unclear where they were taking these characters for a long time, or if even any development was occurring. But it did happen, slowly and surely you grew closer to both of them, despite any walls they put up for each other. Enoch and Molina carried the piece very comfortably throughout, showing their hearts as well as their minds, and that is precisely what I came to the theatre to see.
Wow! What a show! I was lucky enough to get tickets of a box at the final performance starring Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch as Mark Rothko and his assistant Ken. The play is funny, poignant, thought-provoking and absorbing and although it has reached the end of its run, if you get an opportunity to see it at some later date, do go. In addition, I understand that a video recording of the stage performance was made and there are plans to screen at cinemas around the UK in November. I would heartily recommend a watch.
Brilliant & poweful performances by two actors who compliment each other perfectly. Clever, tragic, amusing & sharp dialogue excellently delivered. Mrs JS
I had been looking forward to seeing Red since booking it. Where to begin! It was the best piece of theatre i've seen for ages. The performances of Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch were amazing. The tensions between the two actors just flowed back and forth, it was spellbinding. John Logan's script just kept my attention from the beginning to the end. A great evening and worth the visit all the way up from Plymouth..
Great play, wonderful language and superb performances.
Beautiful piece of theatre. Just two people, in their simplest form, telling a story. Loved it.
Outstanding acting. The play is clever and has emotional depth. Wonderful use of subtext and vivid language to convey meaning. Fantastic stage setting and staging of the play. Thank you for an evening of wonderful theatre
Outstanding, thoroughly recommend
What an intense play. Alfred and Alfred + the lighting were an extraordinary combination. Loved the pacing and furious dialogue.
My title really says it all: the play largely consists of Alfred Molina as Mark Rothko holding forth at length on his views on art. Thankfully, play is only one act and 90 minutes long, as it really couldn't sustain itself for much longer.
A superb play, riveting. Great writing and production. Wonderful acting from both actors. Plus lovely cool theatre and good view even in Row P. Thank you, Box Office.
This script captures what some expressionist artists are trying to achieve, including the viewer projecting on to the painting their own point of view and seeing in the painting things that resonate with that viewer. Both actors were superb. Molina projects Rothko's intensity.
A wonderful script and superb acting results in this excellent play
For anyone interested in the artistic process, Rothko or wants to see some first rate acting, this is a must-see play. It’s thought provoking, intriguing and genuinely interesting. Closes end July.
This was both a provoking and an enlightening play. I thought the two actors were superb in showing the changing path of their relationship. I enjoyed it and learnt a lot.
The play was fantastic and my seat was very good value. Wyndhams theatre is quite small with a lot of character. Very enjoyable evening.
This play deserves a larger better audience than when I was there. Absolutely phenomenal.
Recently, I went to see this fantastic play beautifully performed by Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch. The set is fantastic with great lighting that makes the red canvas glow. One of the best part of the performance is when the actors start to paint one of the large canvas live on stage. I encourage you to go see this production, you will surely enjoy it.
My friend and I loved the play - it was absorbing and thoughtful and brilliantly acted.
It was thoroughly engaging 90 minutess - more, actually, as, taking one's seat, one realised it had already begun, with Mark Rothco on stage, contemplating his huge canvas. So immersing was the drama that when I got home I bought a copy of the play on line, plus a biography. The duo on stage carried us forwards and backwards - in time and emotion, the Red of the title incandescent on the canvases surrounding the dark blackness, mirrored in the raging anger of the artist. It was a desperately sad play, beautifully portrayed.
Very gripping. Dialogue moved well. The subject was close to my heart as I am an avid Rothko fan. Was not disappointed with the portrayal of the character. The understudy was performing and he did an excellent job. Hope it encourages more people to visit the Rothko room at the Tate.
Excellent performance, spellbinding.
A thoroughly enjoyable experience- the torment of Rothko was well portrayed- and the exploration of the changing face and function of art well executed. The performance by Alfred Enoch the eager assistant , who carries his own pain was extraordinary . The relevance of order versus chaos provided a strong foundation for the subject matter explored and is equally relevant today- as to when Rothko was painting - well worth seeing , possibly a trip to the Tate Modern to see the paintings is worthy too .
Highly recommended play especially to art enthusiasts. The acting is superb, Alfred Molina IS Rothko talking to his assistant , (whose acting is as good), who is actually expressing his thoughts and feelings which then applied on the canvases. As an audience it is much clearer to understand Rothko's creations.
2 outstanding actors keep you entertained with an intricate dialogue perfectly executed. Highly recommend.
This is one of the most intellectually satisfying productions I have seen in many years of theatre-going. A great play, beautifully directed and with two towering performances.
I highly recommend it - thought provoking and entertaining
Interesting relationship between master and assistant
I enjoyed the play a lot! If you are an artist or working creatively in any way its message will get to you.
the standard of script and acting was life changing!! great set .
Red was a visual wonder from start to finish, the studio set and ordered chaos added a lot to the peice and became a very clever metaphor for the artwork discussed. Would recomend, particularly as a student and being able to get cheap tickets.
An outstanding play exploring the true nature of an artist and their work.
This was one of those occasions when the production was better than the play. I know the play is highly thought-of but I found it static and not very involving.
Phenomenal, moving performances. Made us run to the Tate to see these amazing Rothko paintings! Great look at the man and his process and the artist's journey.
The best play I have see in a long time ! The two Alfred's were amazing ! The price was even better just shows I didn't have to spend a fortune to enjoy a fab show!
Throughly enjoyed show. The acting superb. I had goosebumps it was so lifting to watch two actors so natural with each other. Loved the props and lighting. Best bit the painting on that large canvas. What do you do with those canvas's?
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I've been a big fan of this play for years, having read the script several times, but I missed it the first time round, so I was delighted that this revival was produced. First off, John Logan is an amazing writer, and he does a magisterial job here; the play is a fascinating discourse on the three artistic impulses (as I see them): the desire to express the inexpressible; the desire to turn an excess of inner feeling into an object; and the desire to be recognised. Alfred Molina - simply a king among actors, a titan - is magnificent; Alfred Enoch does his best, hampered as he is by the magnitude of Molina's presence, and at the end he does establish a signifcant presence in the story. (Well done, Alfred!) It's all talk (except for one mesmerising sequence when the duo are prepping a canvas), so if that's not your thing, go see Mamma Mia. Otherwise, get your tix now; the theatre was not full when I went (why not? This is ALFRED MOLINA in a play by JOHN LOGAN, for the love of Heaven!), so the show will probably not be on for much longer. Turn off Love Island and get your butts down to the Wyndham. That's an order (make mine a G&T!).
Very well scripted, and very well acted. A 'single theme' plot, which could have become boring, but it certainly didn't.
Excellent on all levels from start to finish
What a stunning performance we saw last night and how interesting learning about an artist I had little knowledge of. Would highly recommend to anyone especially artists 😉
I throughly enjoyed Red..Alfred Molina was a great Rothko..beautifully directed..wound like to watch it again...highly recommended.
utterly engaging and deeply profound.
Really enjoyed the show! Powerful performances from both actors. It can't be an easy feat to keep the audience engaged with just 2 characters...
There was enough vitality in the performance from Molina as Rothko to warrant a visit. He's bitter, aging, balancing his ideas of success with his ideals on art. Plenty of physical presence and a suitably spikey delivery. Enoch was good - though the part naturally demanded something less intense - and the two on stage sat as well/as uncomfortably together as the script demanded. Though I wasn't expecting any big-bang moments, the predictable end fell flat for me and there were avenues within the script I felt were under-explored. That said, the design was clever - with knowing nods to lighting, artifice and presentation. Nicely done.
Loved this play. The story was compelling and engaging, and Molina and Enoch were excellent.
If you love art, this is for you. If you know nothing about art, this is for you. Whatever your situation you will discover humanity.
For information on accessibility please contact 0344 482 5137.
32 Charing Cross Road London WC2H 0DA
No refunds after booking.
90 minutes with no interval.
Good To Know
The appearance of any particular artist cannot be guaranteed. If in doubt please check with the Box Office before booking.
No Latecomers will be admitted. Please arrive promptly.
Re-admittance may be refused once the performance has started.
The following performances of Red will be filmed:
- 3pm Thursday 26 July 2018
- 7.30pm Thursday 26 July 2018
- 7.30pm Friday 27 July 2018
How Does It Work
You will receive a confirmation email with your booking reference.
Please print this and bring it with you on the day of the show a minimum of 30 minutes before the performance start time.
Suitable For Children
No - this production contains strong language and real cigarettes will be used.
What Should I Expect
This production contains strong language and real cigarettes will be used.
When Can I Go
4th May 2018 - 28th July 2018
Monday to Saturday 7.30pm
Thursday & Saturday 3pm
Where Do I Go
Wyndham's Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0DA
How To Get There
Train: Charing Cross (approx. 200m)
Tube: Leicester Square (next to theatre), Charing Cross (approx. 600m), Holborn (approx. 600m)
Bus: 24, 29, 176