Hazy portrait of an artist
This article is from 2008.
Leonard ‘Spock’ Nimoy’s one-man show about Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh explores the last ten years of the artist’s life, looking into the events leading up to his suicide. American actor Jim Jarrett plays both Vincent and his brother Theo, whom we first discover speechless with grief at Vincent’s funeral.
Jarrett portrays the two brothers as polar opposites: Theo has a soft voice and gentle demeanour, while Vincent spits, growls and gets depressed about his work. Jarrett indicates which brother he is playing subtly, moving between a desk piled with letters, or a blank canvas and easel.
A slide show of Vincent’s handwriting and paintings runs simultaneously on a screen behind Jarrett, but even the vibrant colour of the familiar works does not prevent the play from getting a little dull. Despite Nimoy’s claim that he researched the correspondence between the Van Gogh brothers for years, he doesn’t offer any ground-breaking insights into their relationship. Nor does he particularly explore why Vincent committed suicide, revealing only that the artist never felt loved. Most disappointing, however, is Jarrett’s clumsy Dutch accent, which distracts from the emotion of Theo’s story. While intermittently entertaining, this is not the last word on the most- discussed artist of all time.
Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 25 Aug, 4.25pm, £12–£13 (£11–£12).