'What is an artist without his muse?'
The weak performance from the lead holds this performance back
This production depicts the story of successful photographer, Ty Jackson, who struggles to find a muse to secure his legacy, having only had one groundbreaking success 20 years before. Yet, in searching for his muse among teenage models, his motivation is examined by everyone around him including the media. This is a show that is filled to the brim with melodrama and art.
The set’s props and parts are altered between scenes to credibly present the idea of time passing and the costumes also follow this naturalistic route. This level of detail in both aspects of the production gives us clues to the mindset of the characters and effectively depicts the wealthy house of a famous artist. However, the melodramatic nature of the play undermines the naturalistic style of acting and by further incorporating humour, the production seems to struggle with the which tone it aims to set.
It is unclear whether the show is taking a serious look at the delicate subject of an artist photographing young girls and by overdoing the comedy, the performance sometimes feels as though it is not giving the dark content the gravity it requires. Furthermore, one is never sure whether this is a moral or artistic debate, or even an attack on the country’s media and its approach to ‘scandal’ – an unfortunate result, as one is left unsure how to feel about the story.
Even so, the scenes of high tension are dramatic, particularly the final scene. Much of this is down to Matt O’Hagan’s portrayal of the insolent, cocky model who aggravates Ty. His confidence and passion are palpable as he pushes the play to its climax during only a small amount of time on stage. Regrettably, his energy is not matched in Gregor Haddow (Ty) who seems quite lifeless during much of the performance as the tension required between him and Ty’s girlfriend, Heloise (Laura Jimenez), and the journalist, Justine (Wendy Brindle), falls flat.
This is a production that should be commended on approaching an important subject matter, but the muddled manner with which it executes this harms the message of the performance – specifically when dealing with sensitive subject matter – and the weak performance from the lead holds this performance back.