Red

Play by John Logan. Under the watchful gaze of his young assistant, and the threatening presence of a new generation of artists, Mark Rothko takes on his greatest challenge yet: to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting.

Original London Production at the Donmar Warehouse 2009

Original London West End Production at the Wyndham's Theatre 2018

'There is only one thing I fear in life, my friend... One day the black will swallow the red.'

A moving and compelling account of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century whose struggle to accept his growing riches and praise became his ultimate undoing.


Original London Production at the Donmar Warehouse 2009

Previewed 3 December 2009, Opened 8 December 2009, Closed 6 February 2010 at the Donmar Warehouse

The cast featured Alfred Molina as 'Mark Rothko' and Eddie Redmayne as 'Ken'. Directed by Michael Grandage with designs by Christopher Oram, lighting by Neil Austin, and music and sound by Adam Cork.

"The play's author, John Logan, is a seasoned Hollywood screenwriter and the actors in this two-hander are the distinguished Alfred Molina and the fast-rising Eddie Redmayne. The action focuses on the moment when the great abstract expressionist artist Rothko was commissioned by the drinks company Seagram to paint a series of canvases to hang in its pucker new Four Seasons restaurant in New York. Cue master and apprentice verbal swordplay, and disquisitions on art and compromise. The actors earn their applause. Molina, shaved Kojak bald, bristles with mercurial anger, while Redmayne grows from wide-eyed boy to straight-talking touchstone. But the script is too often pedestrian, at worst ponderous and emotionally manipulative, rising to a cliched climax where the actors lob shrill home truths at each other. There's one fevered moment of beauty when the actors slap red paint on to a monumental canvas, spattering themselves as if in blood, but then we have to watch the paint dry." The Sunday Telegraph

"Alfred Molina plays the great late American artist Mark Rothko, making him a King Lear of the art world-roaringly, maddeningly let down by people he no longer understands. Rothko is famous for the way his black and red paintings make people feel- uncertain, disturbed and very much alive. They were commissioned in the late 50s for New York's Four Seasons restaurant but were instead kept by the artist, who returned the fee. Rumour has it that he'd painted them as an attack on the self-satisfied fat cat diners. In less than two hours, John Logan's new play swoops and soars through why the commission failed - how artists work, the battle between youth and age, envy, greed and feelings about life and death. A mesmerising Eddie Remayne plays Rothko's assistant Ken. And director Michael Grandage has pulled together the whole show against a music-palette by Adam Cork.This is about as complete a play as you could hope to see." The News of the World

"Both men are sweating blood. Or has the artist's studio turned into an abattoir? Played by a shorn-headed, bullish Alfred Molina, Mark Rothko is priming a huge canvas, together with his skinny young assistant, Ken (Eddie Redmayne). They crouch, very still. Then in a frenzy they stab their brushes into buckets of gore-red paint, dart round each other, and drench the white cloth with bold strokes. When they fall away, panting, their faces are like gules-spattered masks, streaming vermilion. It's electrifying, as if they've been fighting some monster - or each other, minotaur and toreador... Michael Grandage's production is thrilling, primarily because Molina and Redmayne quarrel over artistic principles with fiery tempers. They confess to inner demons - harrowing memories or depressive fears - but then gore each other anew. These excellent actors - like Rothko's paintings - also offer multilayered depictions. Redmayne shimmers with the nerves and stubbornness of youth, fondness and exasperation. Molina manages to be excoriating, laughably self-satisfied and a suicidal loner. There's also the simple pleasure of watching Red as a work play. Redmayne hammers frames together, tips bags of pigment into old coffee jars and heats glue over a rusty gas ring. For each new scene, he and Molina hoist up - on a pulley - another of Rothko's glowering, Seagram Building series. These are splendid forgeries by set designer Christopher Oram. And, under Neil Austin's magical lighting, a hidden cadmium orange suddenly phosphoresces amid the coal black, like a door opening into a furnace. Well worth seeing."The Independent on Sunday

"Alfred Molina delivers an incandescent portrait of the artist as a middle-aged, beleaguered man, flickering between solipsism, despair and transcendence. He paces his studio, peopled with vast imitation Rothkos from designer Christopher Oram, like a pent-up bull, and the most soaring moments of John Logan's firmly fourth-walled play are those in which he lets his subject charge. For most of the night, though, the mood is one of tense baiting in Michael Grandage's expertly paced production. The plot arrives with aspiring artist, Ken (an impressive Eddie Redmayne), hired to assist Rothko in painting the Seagram murals to decorate a luxury Park Avenue restaurant in 1958... Logan tries to describe the mystery of Rothko by making him explain the mysteries of art, at length. This was apparently one of Rothko's most irritating traits, and Grandage's production triumphs over the nagging, school-room stutter of the play... And, however arduous the dramatic journey can sometimes feel, Rothko's haunting response makes for thoroughly astonishing viewing." The Metro

Red in London at the Donmar Warehouse previewed from 3 December 2009, opened on 8 December 2009 and closed on 6 February 2010 at the Donmar Warehouse


Original London West End Production at the Wyndham's Theatre 2018

Previewed 4 May 2018, Opened 15 May 2018, Closed 28 July 2018 at the Wyndham's Theatre in London

A major revival of John Logan's play Red in London starring Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch

The cast features Alfred Molina as 'Mark Rothko' and Alfred Enoch as 'Ken'. Directed by Michael Grandage with designs by Christopher Oram, lighting by Neil Austin, and music and sound by Adam Cork.

This revival is based on the original 2009 Donmar Warehouse production which transferred to Broadway where it won six Tony Awards including 'Best Play'; 'Best Direction of a Play' for Michael Grandage; 'Best Scenic Design of a Play' for Christopher Oram; 'Best Lighting Design of a Play' for Neil Austin; and 'Best Sound Design of a Play' for Adam Cork.

Alfred Molina reprises his role as 'Mark Rothko' from the original 2009 production of Red at the Donmar Warehouse. His other London theatre credits include the role of 'Charlie Fox' in Gregory Mosher's London Premier of David Mamet's play Speed-the-Plow at the National Theatre in 1989. Alfred Enoch played the role of 'Dean Thomas' in the Harry Potter films and he role of 'Wes Gibbins' in the ABC television drama How to Get Away with Murder. John Logan's West End credits include the play Peter and Alice which was staged at the Noel Coward Theatre in 2013 starring Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw and directed by Michael Grandage.

When this production opened in May 2018, Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard highlighted that "it captures the grandeur of this famously imperious painter's vision. Crucial to this is Alfred Molina... Roaring with rage, pacing like a condemned prisoner, he has the feverish energy and the gravitas to be wholly plausible as this brilliant and titanically self-absorbed figure." Neil Norman in the Daily Express wrote that "Michael Grandage directs with flair and pace. The minutiae of the artist at work is well observed... The business of painting has rarely been better expressed on stage and Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch are a cherishable double act. Terrific." Michael Billington in the Guardian thought that "the virtue of Alfred Molinaís performance is in suggesting Rothko knows full well that, in painting murals for a swish eaterie, he is betraying his own ideals... Alfred Enoch captures exactly Kenís progress from sorcererís apprentice to articulate opponent... the play offers an invigorating 90 minutes and shows Rothkoís ability to paint the town his own sombre form of red." Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph described it as being a "transfixing portrait of the artist Mark Rothko in the late Fifties... it's a joy to have this modern classic back, splendidly played, and finally reaching a wider audience." Ann Treneman in the Times praised "this wonderful play" that is "back in this powerful revival that just hits the sweet spot. The set, by Christopher Oram, is nothing short of perfect... Alfred Molina is a force of nature as Mark Rothko... There is also a stellar West End debut from Alfred Enoch as Ken, the student who, despite his nerves, tells his employer that his favourite painter is Jackson Pollock." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times hailed this "magnificent staging, beautifully designed by Christopher Oram and driven by a superlative performance from Alfred Molina." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper said that "it is a pleasure to see Michael Grandage's production in the West End at long last, with Alfred Molina digging ever deeper in his riveting portrayal of tormented genius Mark Rothko and Alfred Enoch putting his stamp on the role of Ken... [a] phenomenal production." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail commented that it "makes for 90 minutes of intense, intelligent discussion about art and the duty of the artist to 'protect' his work... Alfred Molina has not aged much in ten years. It might not harm him to look a little more haggard. This Rothko could benefit from being more reckless in his autumn... Alfred Enoch's Ken is patient and goodlooking... But Mr Enoch lacks the fawn-like vulnerability Eddie Redmayne brought to the part a decade ago."

Red in London at the Wyndham's Theatre previewed from 4 May 2018, opened on 15 May 2018 and closed on 28 July 2018