Stephen Sachs’ BAKERSFIELD MIST opens in London

The Times – 4 stars

“Odd couple’s row has comedy off to fine art”

(see full review)

Back in the West End for the first time in eight years, Kathleen Turner reminds us what a genuinely compelling stage star she is in this nimble, rewarding, new art-world comedy about faith, fakes and first impressions.

Yes, at first glance, Stephen Sachs’s one-act play appears amusing but a bit pat. It pits Ian McDiarmid’s prissy English art expert, Lionel, against Turner’s working-class bartender, Maude. Lionel has flown by private jet from New York to a trailer park in Bakersfield, California, to test Maude’s claim that the canvas she bought for three dollars from a local junk shop is an original Jackson Pollock (the show is inspired by a true story).

As he sneers at Maude’s cluttered trailer home — a marvellously intimate, convincing set by Tom Piper — and assures her that he is a connoisseur and she is a nobody, you wonder how much mileage Sachs will get from this odd couple of lonely, ageing abrasive types from opposite ends of the social scale.

Plenty, it turns out. “My first impression of you was completely inaccurate,” says Lionel after what turns into a thoroughly entertaining 85 minutes of quipping, arguing, boozing, opining, fist-fighting and soul-baring. Polly Teale’s well-paced production allows us to see that Lionel’s superciliousness is his barricade against the world, while Maude’s uneducated bluffness — “Well, who else would paint shit like that?” growls Turner, gesturing at the 5ft-high picture she has propped up for McDiarmid to inspect — conceals an intelligent, determined woman looking more for acceptance than money. Like Art before it, this play’s real canvas is not just artistic authenticity but human authenticity.

McDiarmid is a treat. Enthusing about Pollock’s “lariats of colour”, he renders the painter’s style in action, his body swirling around as if wielded by Pollock’s own hand. As Lionel gets blurred by booze, McDiarmid shows us a man whose determination to be a “fake-buster” is inseparable from the way he lost his pre-eminence in New York’s art scene.

Although Turner handles Sachs’s comic dialogue with zest, this American screen star makes a big character feel utterly true as she stalks around in jeans and plaid shirt, glass of bourbon in hand, uttering throaty put-downs and letting us in on her sadness without turning sentimental.

The title is a spin on a Pollock painting, Lavender Mist, that has a bearing on a plot that takes on a thrillerish knottiness as it goes along.

Yes, at this short length it’s impressionistic, finally offering more questions than answers about taste, expertise and artistry. No matter: this pithy, beautifully performed play put a smile on my face and kept my brain buzzing for a good while afterwards.

The Guardian (see front page):

Sachs TURNER PRIZE in West End

 

The Daily Mail – 4 stars

  “Gravel, wheeze and cigarettes … what a voice Kathleen has”

“an intellectual show full of shadings. Ad you are out in plenty of time for dinner.”

Not online yet

The Daily Telegraph – 3 stars

Turner and McDiarmid are terrific ..

Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid shine in Stephen Sach’s entertaining  play about the discovery of a possible Jackson Pollock”

“This odd couple are a work of art”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-reviews/10858064/Bakersfield-Mist-Duchess-Theatre-review-Turner-and-McDiarmid-are-terrific.html

 

 

 

 

Kathleen Turner on stage in London in Stephen Sachs’ BAKERSFIELD MIST

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First Look At Kathleen Turner Onstage In BAKERSFIELD MIST

May 18
1:00 2014

Internationally recognized stage and screen star Kathleen Turner headlines the new West End production of BAKERSFIELD MIST and a sneak peek at the acclaimed actress in action onstage is now available to view.

Turner stars alongside notable British actor Ian McDiarmid in the West End premiere of the comedy by Stephen Sachs, which premiered in Los Angeles in 2011.

In a recent interview, Turner described her character in BAKERSFIELD MIST as such: “This blousy woman, a little rundown – the kind of cliche of an American woman you Brits just love – but there’s more to her. It’s about the transformative power of art and class and truth.”

Furthermore, the character is named Maude Gutman and is described as “an unemployed bartender who buys an abstract painting for $3 and discovers it could be a priceless Jackson Pollock piece.”

Check out the original BroadwayWorld article on the matter here.

BAKERSFIELD MIST is scheduled to play at the Duchess Theatre from May 10 to August 30, 2014.

More information on BAKERSFIELD MIST is available at the official site here.

View Kathleen Turner onstage in BAKERSFIELD MIST below.

Photo Credits: Simon Annand/Facebook

 

Composer-Lyricist Peter Mills Awarded Donna Perret Rosen Award

Second Stage Theatre, under the artistic direction of Carole Rothman, has awarded its second annual Donna Perret Rosen Award for excellence in musical theatre to composer-lyricist Peter Mills.

The $10,000 award was established at the Off-Broadway company’s 2011 gala to honor Second Stage Theatre trustee Donna Perret Rosen in recognition of her long-standing commitment to young artists and new works. This year’s award recipient was chosen by musical director Mary-Mitchell Campbell, actor Lonny Price and fellow lyricist Richard Maltby Jr.

The first recipient of the Donna Perret Rosen Award was composer-lyricist Adam Gwon in 2012.

Mills’ musicals have been performed at New York City venues, including 59E59 and West End Theatre. His musicals include Illyria, Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge, The Flood and The Taxi Cabaret. He has supplied lyrics for the Off-Broadway show Iron Curtain (book by Susan DiLallo, music by Stephen Weiner), which ran in November 2011. He co-wrote The Flood with Carla Reichel, which was selected for the 2001 ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop. His show Marco Polo, written with composer Deborah Abramson, was selected for the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop in 2000, and both Mills and Abramson were chosen as 2000-01 Dramatist Guild Fellows.

In addition to the Donna Perret Rosen Award, Mills is the recipient of the 2011 Cole Porter Award, the 2010 Kleban Award for lyrics, the 2007 Fred Ebb Award for emerging songwriters, a 2006 Drama Desk nomination for his show The Pursuit of Persephone (Best Music and Best Orchestrations), the 2003 Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award from the ASCAP Foundation and a 2002 grant from the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation.

Mills is currently writing lyrics for the Broadway-aimed musical The Honeymooners.

For more information, visit 2ST.com.”

 

Original article from Playbill.com 

 

Episode 4: “The Boy That I’ll Never Know” of The Hinterlands is up and live!

Michelle Elliott (Co-Creator/Co-Writer) & Danny Larsen (Co-Creator/Co-writer/Editor/Cinematographer) premiere episode four of their new webseries musical THE HINTERLANDS.

Synopsis of episode 4:

 A boy from a nearby town has taken his own life and Paul feels the need to pay his respects. Continue on with Paul’s journey as he struggles to deal with the merciless bullying he is experiencing. Also you don’t want to miss the terrific performances by Broadway stars Erin Dilly and John Bolton!

Here it is! Pass it on!

 

Also, in case you are not caught up, here are all the previous episodes!

Episode 1: “The Hinterlands”

Episode 2: “Go, Team, Win!”

Episode 3: “Stupid Me”