A Glorious Chrome Yellow

Wed 3rd – Thu 4th July 2013


Anwen Jones

at 12:03 on 6th Jul 2013



There's no denying that many people have wondered about the man behind masterpieces such as Starry Night, Irises and Sunflowers. So it was with nervous excitement that I sat down to watch The Scribbling Ape theatre company's production 'A Glorious Chrome Yellow', described in the press release as what could be 'the closest account of what actually happened in the summer of 1888' in the famous Yellow House of Arles.

Although setting off to a slightly slow start with a grinding French tune played on repeat, what ensued was a spectacular exploration into the relationship between Vincent Van Gogh (Troy Hewitt) and the French painter Paul Gaugin (Ziggy Ross). Not only were we aware of Van Gogh's previous loneliness, his reliance of drink and bought sex, but we were also treated to the back story of the lesser known painter Gaugin, who becomes a key force in the narrative of the play.

Holding the audience in the palm of their hands at almost all times of the show, Hewitt and Ross demonstrated how collaboration and connection on stage can really push a production to the next level. Starkly contrasting Van Gogh's insecurity with Gaugin's domineering, arrogant personality, the pair embarked on an ambitious but highly successful tale of friendship, loneliness, passion and destruction. Such a mix of light-hearted comedy and serious intense drama was achieved almost effortlessly and at times, due to their ease in switching from humorous banter to periods of silence, I felt like I was on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, passing from warming moments of friendship to times of hair-prickling tension and distress.

However, despite the talent of the two leads, the smaller parts of the cast were unfortunately a little forced. The three other actors, who I'm sure could excel in other roles, lacked depth and believability and therefore, at times of interaction with Ross and Hewitt, the play fell down slightly as momentum was lost.

However, it is fair to say that for a play about two of the most famous 19th century artists, it really offers something compelling and fresh. There really cannot be enough credit for Troy Hewitt and Ziggy Ross, who not only starred in the play, but also co-wrote and co-directed the whole production. Keep your eyes out for these two, they could create something truly spectacular.


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