Vincent in Brixton
Premiering at the National Theatre, directed by Richard Eyre - a new play about Van Gogh by Nick Wright, author of Lulu.
The character list for this play includes one, 'Vincent van Gogh, aged 20'.
The time is 1873. The place: 87 Hackford Road, Brixton. Van Gogh did indeed spend time in London in the 1870s and he did stay at a rooming house in Brixton - from which he returned to Holland a changed man.
From this basic premise Nicholas Wright has constructed an extraordinarily gripping and convincing play.
The three denizens of number 87 - the widowed Ursula, her daughter Eugenie, and Eugenie's fiance - all emerge as thoroughly complicated, flesh-and-blood characters, beside whom the newly arrived young Dutchman seems stiff and reserved.
But as he gets his feet under the table an astonishing rapport develops between him and Ursula, twice his age, which blossoms into a full-blown love affair - only to be cruelly curtailed by the arrival of Vincent's fiercely puritan younger sister...Nicholas Wright has imagined a remarkable moment in history, which may not have happened like this but which is utterly convincing as he tells it. There is a warmth and humanity to the characters which is a million miles away from the Kirk Douglas school of artistic biography