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Print Version

By Geoff Allen
presented by Galatea Theatre

at Musgrove Studio, Maidment Theatre, Auckland
From 18 Apr 2012 to 28 Apr 2012
[1hr 10mins]

Reviewed by Rosabel Tan, 22 Apr 2012
originally published in Theatre Scenes - Auckland Theatre Blog

At the beginning of Mrs Van Gogh, Johanna Gesina Bonger (Gina Timberlake) introduces herself to the audience. I see my name does not strike a chord, she says. Perhaps you will know me better as Johanna Van Gogh – wife of Theo (Brendan Lovell), sister-in-law to Vincent (John Goudge), and one of the only reasons the latter's work has survived. Despite this, it's rare to see her name in print: not only have the paintings outlived her, they have overshadowed her. And so we are taken through the years she spent with the Van Gogh brothers – from her first meeting with Theo through to his death, and finally her efforts to preserve and understand both men. 

Written and directed by Geoff Allen, the play is clearly a labour of love – in the programme he describes the influence Van Gogh has had on him, citing his first play, Vincent and Theo, as the basis for the current one. The set is decorated with gorgeous imitation Van Goghs he has painted himself and the score, inspired by the artist, has been composed by the actor playing him. There's a real sense of the passion underlying the play, but as an audience we feel very little of it. [More
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See also reviews by:
 Nik Smythe
 Paul Simei-Barton (New Zealand Herald);
 Phillip J Dexter