Wednesday, 28 May 2014

'Bakersfield Mist' Duchess Theatre ****

Probably one of the shortest place I've ever seen, and one of the funniest ones I have witnessed, ‘Bakersfield Mist’ is a production that's a must see. The play has been written by Stephen Sachs and conveys a woman's desire to earn lots of money and you have her claim to fame in finding a rare piece of artwork that has been missing for a long while. Set in a dirty caravan/trailer park in Bakersfield, California introduces us to only two characters, Maude a middle-aged woman who is craving for some attention from the world that seems to be missing the point is convinced that a piece of art she recently purchased is the real canvas of Abstract Expressionist artist, Jackson Pollock. On your other hand, when she invites an arts connoisseur from New York, who she hopes could prove it’s the original is displayed by his unpleasing evaluation of the painting. The characters in this production have been wonderfully constructed by Sachs as the juxtaposition between a drinker, chain-smoking and quite frankly undesirable woman to be well dressed, knowledgeable and pretentious art expert , Lionel were very well thought of and the dialogue is incredibly comical. It’s definitely not lacking in that department whatsoever. The themes are that also very engaging too. I thought that the characters backgrounds were vastly realistic, this is due to the fact ‘Bakersfield Mist’ is based on actual events. Sachs has done a successful job here. I must express this is the year where the play is overtaking the musical genre, as the plays’ have a more emotive and comical concept and are extremely more original. This performance is just as amusing as ‘Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense’ where there is a limited company also. They performances by a miniscule company of ‘Bakersfield Mist’ were fantastic during the entire production. Kathleen Turner is outstanding as the atrocious fame-seeking Maude. I particularly liked the scenes where she would try to use alcohol to make the art expert sign the form, claiming it's the real Pollock. She was incredibly funny indeed. Ian McDiarmid is stunning as the quite snobbish art connoisseur Lionel. I found that his facial expressions when he looked at the fake painting were very comical from beginning to end. Excellent performances all round. Polly Teale's direction is sublime as she's been able to capture the essences of life that needs improvement, which reminded me of Imelda Staunton in ‘Good People’. Tom Piper's design is extraordinary as you become immersed into this story. I did have an enjoyable experience and one that you should enjoy too.

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