For a few short years in 1980s New York, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring were mini Gods of the art world. Warhol’s star might’ve been fading a little, but with hip young visual artists Basquiat and Haring at his side, his 15 minutes of fame was prolonged.
Harold Finley has written a ‘new’ play (there was a reading back in 2009) about this motley trio. The script certainly isn’t boring, pulsing with defiance, verve and shedloads of drugs. The flinty and poetic monologues are particularly good.
But the production – also directed by Finley – is very erratic. The characters are thin and silly one minute, deep and desolate the next. The tone is as jumpy as it is junky; stand-up is followed by satire is followed by angsty despair.
The performances from Michael Waters (Basquiat) and Simon Ginty (Haring) are also somewhat uneven. It is only comic Adam Riches – making a surprise appearance in a straight play – who convinces as Warhol. His words drip out like thick honey and he is deliciously and believably camp. But he is vulnerable too, and when Warhol’s wig is stolen, he looks like a superhero with his mask ripped off. Miriam Gillinson