‘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.
Baron's Court Theatre, London, March 11-30
Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.