‘The Stage’ review – Honour Bayes


Picasso’s Artful Occupation

Published Thursday 13 March 2014 at 14:05 by Honour Bayes

After impressing with his autobiographical testament to British socialism, The Tailor’s Last Stand, last year, Ian Buckley has moved into a more fictional imagining of the fight against fascism. Picasso’s Artful Occupation is based on real events - documenting a day when the artist had to catalogue his collection with Nazi soldiers in occupied Paris - but it does not give any real insight into what it might have been like. Neither is Buckley able to use the encounter to frame a wider historical discussion around the socialist struggle during the Second World War.

Kenneth Michaels’ faltering production feels under-baked. The cast does not appear to be listening or responding to each other, instead operating at preconceived intensities of performance with jarring results. A sensible decision not to affect accents is soon undermined by this fractured style, and it is hard to pin these interactions into a time or place, or associate any of these people with their real-life counterparts.

Gary Heron is unable to portray the charm that made Picasso a great lothario or the artistic empathy that made him a great artist. Roberto Landi’s “sensitive” officer Willi Frisch and David O’Connor’s “bullish” officer Franz Hebbel both feel frustratingly two-dimensional.

Production information

Baron's Court Theatre, London, March 11-30


Ian Buckley


Kenneth Michaels


RedNeedle Productions


Gary Heron, Roberto Landi, David O'Connor

Running time:

1hr 30mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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