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Review: Red – “An utterly unique viewing experience”

A two-man stage play that first hit London’s West End in 2009, Red tells the story of legendary artist Mark Rothko as he plunges headfirst into a new creative commission under the watchful gaze of his eager young assistant. For those of us not lucky enough to get along to see the stage production in person, it is now being shown for a short season in cinemas around the country.

Alfred Molina is a force to be reckoned with as Rothko, a larger-than-life figurehead who is battling against what he perceives as the decline of all that is good about art; a self-perceived beacon of light in a darkening world.

Originally, assistant Ken was played by Eddie Redmayne who won a coveted Tony Award in 2010 for his performance. The role has now been filled by Harry Potter alum Alfred Enoch who does an admirable job of holding his own in a role which could easily pale alongside his co-star in the hands of one less able.

For most of us, watching a filmed stage show is an unfamiliar experience, and I won’t pretend it didn’t take me a moment to adjust to the pace and style so unique to live performances. This period of adjustment is more than worth it though, as the hour and a half that results is nothing short of captivating. The fast-paced, passionately delivered dialogue combined with the ceaseless feeling that we are teetering on the edge of a big moment kept me on tenterhooks, suspended in the world of the play much like the paintings which dominate the set.

An utterly unique viewing experience, bound to captivate audiences and remind us all of the power of strong theatre. Search for screenings near you at

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