RED Review

Brian Dykstra as Mark Rothko & Matthew Carlson as Ken. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Links to all reviews can be found on the BTC REVIEWS page. Blog postings, links and more are available on my FaceBook fan page. You can receive updates on Twitter from @BTCincyRob.

RED presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through Nov. 12. You can read the show description here.

In the program for RED, Tina Tammaro’s article “The World of Mark Rothko” describes his artistic style in this way: “Rothko pulls us into a space pulsating with pure emotion. His paintings contain shapes created from multiple layers of rich color.”

Brian Dykstra as Mark Rothko. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

RED is an intimate, two-actor, pulsating with emotion, 90-minute multiple-layered work. Which like Rothko’s artwork, becomes flat and loses impact from a distance.

Both Brian Dykstra as Mark Rothko and Matthew Carlson as Ken turn in some nice work. I especially enjoyed the final two scenes of the play. From Dykstra though, I never quite bought him as an artist. I also thought that Carlson appeared to be a tad too old for the role of Ken.

The set design by Michael Ganio creates intimacy by pushing the performance space to the downstage half of the stage. The staging by director Steven Woolf seems to overly-favor those seated directly in front of the performance area. Also, at times, the scenes did slip into two guys yelling at each other about painting and art.

Matthew Carlson as Ken. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Two things I found lacking from this production was the sense of the [circa 1958-1959] time-period and the sense of time passing in the character’s relationship.

Bottom line, an intimate play works best in an intimate theater. Perhaps better suited to the Shelterhouse, RED seems to lose its focus and intensity in the bigger space.

Click here for a complete list of show times, articles and other reviews for RED.

I would love to hear what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.


Filed under Reviews

2 responses to “RED Review

  1. John Wells

    I agree it would have been better in a smaller theater but I loved “Red” I was in the back of the house and I really felt the power of the show, even from there. I would highly recommend this show. I’m a poor college kid, and I would pay to see it again.


  2. As I Ieave commentary, I find myself at odds with the BTC reviews, but that is art, isn’t it? The Playhouse production of Red was engaging from first line to last. There are so many nuances and the content so subjective that I really cannot even tell my closest friend they will “love it.” I think it’s as experiential as art itself. Not a typical story with a beginning, middle and end, but rather an opened dialogue. “Red” is a magnificent play, and
    I believe the Playhouse intentionally chose to focus on content, rather than context. The overall (abstract) expression is multi-layered and poignant. There is far more to a play than sets, costumes, and environment, and this play did not win a Tony award without cause. It is incredibly written, and this production begs simple and complex discussion long after the actors take their bows. This was a magnificently directed, acted, and presented play. Bravo!


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