Theatre Review: Kathleen Turner Stars in Bakersfield Mist


Bakersfield Mist is a quick, fairly gratifying play that battles clichés and unbelievable set-ups as a result of it tries to make some extent about paintings, education and the patronising exclusivity and vainness of the paintings world.

Maude (Kathleen Turner) is a trailer park mom on the West Coast of the States desperately attempting to influence Lionel (Ian McDiarmid), an knowledgeable, English paintings vendor who has merely flown in on a private jet from New York, that a painting she picked up for A bucks in a thrift retailer is a Jackson Pollack masterpiece.

You ought to droop pretty a bit of little bit of disbelief inside the set-up – that such an esteemed paintings vendor would make such a go to himself – and frustratingly you need to maintain suspending disbelief proper by means of.

Lionel – boastful and aloof – is savouring his various to belittle Maude, a woman he considers beneath him relating to class and education, by declaring her painting a fake. “Proving forgeries is a personal marketing campaign of mine” he declares on meeting Maude, with nearly palpable relish.

But though Maude may be out of her depths inside the paintings world, she is a survivor and she or he goes to do regardless of it takes to get to point out to her buyer that what she believes is the truth.

In actuality, Lionel would’ve taken one check out the painting, declared it a fake and left (assuming that he would have made the journey in any respect). But proper right here we have got to go along with it as Maude coerces Lionel to remain, will get him roaringly drunk in a matter of minutes on whisky she nicked from the bar she merely acquired fired from, and models about attempting to affect him of the painting’s authenticity by any means potential.

Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid are stars, clearly, and there is some leisure in seeing these big names battling for psychological and moral superiority inside the cramped confines of Maude’s trailer park residence. However they’re hampered by Stephen Sachs’ writing which supplies additional incredulity with every flip – Maude making an attempt to seduce Lionel being an nearly out-of-character second.

Nevertheless the actors do their biggest. McDiarmid goes for additional bodily comedy as he’ll get more and more extra drunk to aim to make it believable that he would open up so shortly to Maude. It’s an understandable technique regardless that it’ll probably get a bit OTT.

Kathleen Turner works to convey integrity and dignity to Maude the place perhaps the set-up might reduce her to a stereotype.

The highlight of the manufacturing for me was an impressive set design from Tom Piper. Maude’s trailer park home is crammed full of every kind of junk and tacky bric-a-brac cliché potential. The residence is almost a character in itself and it offers to the prejudices about this woman, how may she in all probability know one thing about precise paintings?

But that in reality is the aim. Stephen Sachs’ writing touches on fairly a bit – the price of paintings, the emotions of creativity, the empathy for creative expression, even class and life itself. If we have got felt ache and struggling, in addition to pleasure and happiness in life, then definitely we have adequate to know emotion in paintings? Do we’ve to be educated to know paintings?

All these questions are left unresolved and we’re left with an open e book of questions that goes far previous whether or not or not the exact painting is an actual Pollack. These are subjects which may have been additional fascinating if the premise hadn’t been so pressured.

This play ends pretty abruptly, which might be not a shock offered that the set-up is so awkward, at a quick seventy 5 minutes. But offered that prime-value tickets are retailing for as a lot as £eighty 5, it’s questionable whether or not or not this current offers value for money.

However in case you’re desperate to see these two large names and have flexibility by which dates you’ll attend, you’ll uncover tickets discounted to additional fairly priced expenses on the Love Theatre website online and on the Leicester Square half-price ticket gross sales area.

Duchess Theatre, London to August 30, 2014

Image credit score: Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid © Simon Annand


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