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Week on stage | The Independent

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ONEndy Warhol, evolution, and the criminal justice system are all under the microscope on the London stage this week – with varying degrees of success. Next week we’ll be looking at Kit Harington’s Henry V, Our generation at the National Theatre, and After the end.

Collaboration – Young Vic ★★★★ ☆

In this historical drama, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat reveal their knuckles and souls as they collaborate in the artist’s studio. Paul Bettany’s performance-affecting entertainment neurosis as Warhol is a joy, while Jeremy Pope as Basquiat as a banknote, his deeper thoughts: he has faith He believed deeply in the power of his paintbrush, could not understand Warhol’s wit, and was even extremely eloquent despite his constant half-stonedness. Together, they debate the purpose of art and together create intended works of art. Basquiat’s obsession with authenticity prompted Warhol to pick up the brush after decades of screenwriting, while Warhol persuaded Basquiat to indulge his fixation with the empty visual traps of American capitalism.

Anthony McCarten’s play is a wonderfully entertaining exercise in giving audiences what they want. It’s filled with gossip — from Basquiat’s love affair with Madonna to Warhol’s battle to hide his gay relationship with journalists — and moments of weird humor, like when Warhol couldn’t resist plunging into Basquiat’s filthy apartment.

Their blossoming relationship felt a little too close and unsettling at times: McCarten clearly loved both artists too much to obscure the darkness and narcissism that biographers have found in Warhol, or delved so deeply into the torment of Basquiat’s soul that he had to cover up. tarpaulin in the grave and skull. But it’s hard to remember when McCarten’s writing was so good at a strong, beautiful aphorism. “All artists with wit should be heard; All gloom bastards will be imprisoned to death,” Warhol declared at one point. And in this play, intelligence wins.

CollaborationThe saga of the story stops just before things get messy – before the pair’s oil paintings are released by critics, before the injured Basquiat is described as Warhol’s “mascot”. in the press, and before both artists died a few years later. Instead, it is a distinctive, brilliantly executed portrait of a relationship at its warmest and finest: tinged with bright, saturated colors of the canvas they shared. Alice Saville

Read the full review here.

Please don’t touch – Fun ★★★ ☆☆

The barren cell of a young inmate’s prison in Birmingham isn’t the most desirable place, nor the most exciting setting for a theater performance, but it’s where Casey Bailey sets the story. his people about finding cultural pride after prejudice. Please don’t touch explores the ways in which morality and legitimacy are not necessarily synonymous, as Mason spent several months in prison for theft. While at the National Trust house some time earlier, he came across a centuries-old afro comb from an African country and decided to put it on display. After all, he thought, what is stealing when you’re recovering items that were stolen in the first place?

As the play’s central character, Tijan Sarr gives a confident and sincere performance, delivering poetic monologues about the injustice of his situation and the struggles he faces. face when a young black man finds his way in places trying to hold him back. Some particularly shining moments occur when Mason transforms into other characters in his life; His mother is, for one, proud of her son for standing up for what he believes in.

While the message is worth exploring, the play is more of an animated lecture than a compelling performance. It was a daunting task to put together a show with just a cot, a table and chairs, and a radio for friends on stage, and Sarr did his best to make it a success. But for all its realism, presenting the dull monotony of the inner months so literally leaves the production with limited space to grow. Nicole Vassell

Red yard – Bush Theater ★★★★ ☆

What happens when the “end” is no longer yours? That is a question asked more and more as gentrification sweeps across the UK, “transforming” struggling areas and removing longtime residents in the process. In south London, three 16-year-old boys – Omz (Francis Lovehall), Joey (Emeka Sesay) and the de facto leader Bilal (Sex educationby Kedar Williams-Stirling) – is beginning to see its damaging effects.

As the audience poured into the Bush Theater, the teenagers were on the field and practicing hard. Football was the catalyst for action in the first play by Tyrell Williams (best known for the BBC Three series #HoodDocumentary) but you can hate the sport and love the production. Football events and jargon are minimal and the show never feels inaccessible. Instead, at its heart is the friendship of the trio. Between them, everything is a competition. Happiness and anger are clearly linked, with the celebration turning to fighting and back within seconds, making for a clear commentary on modern masculinity.

On stage, the three conductors feel completely at ease with each other. They chew on silver chains and their hands never move from the waistband of a jogger’s pants. Under the direction of Daniel Bailey, deputy artistic director of the Bush Theater, there is hardly a moment of silence, with amusing dialogues overlapping as each boy fights for voice. said last.

When your neighborhood is treated with such violence, it’s no surprise that boys turn to it, too. When they find themselves pushed apart, their fighting game comes to life and they hurl each other to the floor with loud, shocking noises. But the brutality in Red yard, finally, play a small part. It is fun that you will remember. Isobel Lewis

Read the full review here.

https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/culture/theatre-review-the-collaboration-red-pitch-b2022281.html Week on stage | The Independent

Tom Vazquez

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