Warhol: Bullet Karma

Warhol: Bullet Karma invites you to meet everyone’s favourite eccentric pop artist. We bear witness to Andy Warhol as he tells of his Pennsylvania roots, his move to New York and the establishment of the famous ‘Factory’. We meet a collection of revered contemporaries such as Edie Sedgewick and Valerie Solonas. Garry Roost’s detailed and technically brilliant performance succeeds in resurrecting the legendary artist. Roost remains steady on the tightrope of caricature and authenticity - an inevitable risk with such a character. This Warhol conjures enough of what we already know while also suggesting hitherto only propounded traits. However, Warhol’s movement remains often static, lacking in the dynamism of his voice. The confessional style of the piece drags at first; the blocking feeling misplaced as Roost switches between talking to a camera and breaking out to the audience – which works insofar as demonstrating the character’s insecurities and care for the opinion of others as well as the intriguing divide between the public and private.

A Popping Performance worthy of a Pop Artist

The first act’s story is crafted skilfully but consistently monotone, keeping us from surrendering our full attention just yet. Early fragments featuring other characters are a saving grace for pacing. Fortunately, as the play continues new gears are found, the story snowballs quickly and what seemed odd becomes natural. The character switches vary in success - the switch is understood but the tone and rhythm of the scene remains often uninterrupted. It becomes clear that the play’s world does not seek to bring its story down to earth but remain heightened with its enlarged Warhol as our guide - suiting and reflecting Warhol’s distinctive artistic style.

All of the characters presented feel enjoyably vibrant and their colours do indeed ‘pop’ although a couple do not feel fully separated from the core performance or like fully formed characters. While the tone of the characters is apparent, that of the overall piece and its encapsulation of the time and character is let down by a lack of flair in its stagecraft. Basic lighting, uninteresting audio and a lack of care for props keep the piece from feeling fully thought through. ‘Why is this relevant now’ is quickly answered through the inclusion of issues such as mental health, fame and power, positing interesting insights for today; not to mention one particular tone in Warhol’s voice that sounds oddly Trump-esque - an intentional point or honest coincidence? Indeed, sneering references to the “seduction of the inner American desire” do seem to point right towards Trump’s America.

As the play circles its landing Roost and the piece’s director, Kenneth Hadley’s reverence for their subject as a lens to which regard our culture of today become clear – one feels aware that a point is being made that while true talent and genius worthy of such fame has faded, it is not unable of rising again. A skilled performance and a layered story make Warhol: Bullet Karma a more than worthy way to spend your 11:45 - 12:45 this Fringe.

Reviews by Jet Graham

Pleasance Courtyard

The Wild Unfeeling World

★★★★
Heroes @ Bob's BlundaBus

Imaan Hadchiti: Being Frank

★★★★
Just the Tonic at The Grassmarket Centre

Matt Hoss: Here Comes Your Man

★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Tess

★★★
Pleasance Dome

21 Futures by Olly Hawes

★★
Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose

Not Quite

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

His father left him a contribution toward his education to go to college. Recognised by his tutor as 'the most gifted and talented student I have ever seen', Andy eventually moved to New York and landed his dream job as a commercial artist. The factory, the extraordinary explosion of ideas and concepts, shook the Pop Art world. Shot by Valerie Solonas. Roost embodies the lives and tragic losses of those who lived or died in the factory. A darkly witty take on the American Pop Art icon.

Most Popular See More

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Les Miserables

From £22.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £22.00

More Info

Find Tickets