Art House ***

Throughout time, artists seem to have had the need to be left alone when they create.  The chance of solitude is a very powerful temptation, one that artist Charlie decides to take.  With the help of her sister, she fakes her death so that: a) she can create more and b) her art scores a much larger public interest.

And so begins Art House, an hour-long play that sees these two siblings in an interesting symbiotic relationship.  Charlie needs sister Viva to bring her supplies, to create the facade of her death and to act as her art dealer, while Viva needs Charlie to paint more so she can continue her rise in the art world as a ‘power broker’.

Rachael Coopes’ new play has many intriguing concepts: the fickle world of art, the effects of solitude, the importance of human contact (be it physical, emotional or sexual) and the question of who actually owns a work of art: the person who made it or the person who paid for it.  In fact, with development the fleshing out of these themes could lead to a good full length play.  However, as it is here, it is all half-baked and flimsy at best.

The production is saved by two very solid performances by Caroline Horton and Emily Randall.  They both play their roles well and work fantastically together to make a sibling rivalry tale all the more believable.

But in the end, Art House is a play of great ideas but of weak design.  It contains good performances by two charismatic actors who manage to bring a much needed spark to the production, but other than that it is a pretty bland offering.

Originally written for Onstage Scotland.

Playing at The Zoo venue at 15.00 until August 31.


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