‘The Poltergeist’ Review: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Madman

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The mind of a neurotic artist is a terrifying place to be. Trust me, I know: I’ve had a 30-year residency in one, and it’s no picnic.

Still, the artist at the center of “The Poltergeist,” a new solo play by Philip Ridley presented by Tramp and streaming courtesy of London’s Southwark Playhouse, functions on a whole different level. As a teen, Sasha (Joseph Potter) was dubbed a prodigy thanks to his large-scale murals. He was going to be a star, but now, years later, he’s a nobody, self-consciously making smudged watercolors and sketches that he immediately declares worthless.

It’s hard to focus on your next masterpiece when you have something permanently stuck in your craw. Sasha prattles through an interior monologue of such unrelenting vitriol about himself, his art and the world around him that he seems hollowed out, a black hole masquerading as a person.

When he and his supportive boyfriend, an actor named Chet, go to a niece’s birthday party, Sasha barely manages the smiles and chat and cake. He pops too many painkillers and hardly veils his resentment for his brother and sister-in-law. He trashes the house when no one is looking. He grows more riled up as casual conversations veer closer to the topic of his artistry and the reason he never lived up to his promise. (No spoilers here, but it involves a familial act of betrayal.)

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Sahred From Source link Arts