Seeing RED at the Lyric Theatre

RED, the story of artist Mark Rothko in the late 1950’s, arrived in the Lyric Theatre on Tuesday night and hopefully left the whole audience inspired, and not just me.

This multi Tony winning play is a refreshing change from what has felt like a long run of Irish theatre at the Lyric. I’ve always felt there’s a whole big world out there, a world of inspiring stories, a world of wonder, a world where we could all learn from, so let’s not just focus on local stories, let’s go global. So seeing RED at the Lyric totally fulfills my desire for great non Irish theatre and left me feeling buzzing with excitement and feeling like I wanted to go home and paint!


Often when you go to an art gallery paintings don’t come to life until they have been explained to you, until you know the story behind the artist. Take for example my trip to the Picasso museum in Malaga. I didn’t understand the art until a tour guide explained it all. Red does the same for Rothko. But you don’t just get a tour of a gallery here, you are immersed into the mind of the artist himself, you are taken right back into the 1950’s, into the studio for a peek into his life, his passions, his story.


What indeed is the RED theme about, is it Santa or Satan, why is he afraid of black, why does he change his mind about the big commercial commission for a restaurant. In RED, he sees himself as simply an employer to his new assistant Ken, but he’s really an amazing mentor. Throughout this fiery passionate production they challenge and question each other’s thoughts about art and what it represents. They both grow from the experience and learn what their drivers really are. Until it’s time to move on and Rothko sets Ken free from his windowless studio out into the bright world, because his role as his employer/mentor is complete.

RED is an inspiration; it has so much passion running through it I was ready to burst with excitement. It’s mesmerising; I didn’t notice there was no interval, I didn’t notice the time pass. I just wanted to get up on stage and join in the awesome painting scene. 

Can you tell I loved it?

Thank you to director Emma Jordan  and actors Patrick O’Kane and Thomas Finnegan, you’ve left me buzzing with creativity! 

Get your tickets and feel the passion of RED at the Lyric Theatre.

Post Author: Belfast Times

Leave a Reply