Bakersfield Mist marks the return to the London stage of multi award winner Kathleen Turner for the first time since her tour-deforce performance in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? She plays opposite Olivier and Tony winner Ian McDiarmid.
Inspired by true events, Stephen Sachs new play debates the nature of authenticity. Kathleen plays Maude, a boozy ex-bartender living in a Bakersfield trailer park who picks up what she claims is a Jackson Pollock for five bucks while trawling through a junk shop.
Ian is Lionel, a lecturer in Abstract Expressionism at Princeton University who is asked to verify the painting or declare it a fake. The play goes beyond the painting. It’s a culture clash between a woman desperately seeking validation for her life and a snobbish connoisseur of fine art. Which one is real?
While I was drawing the sketch I was reminded of Kathleen’s infamous line as the uncredited voice of Jessica Rabbit, Roger Rabbit’s flirtatious toon wife in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? In an interview she said it was just fun to do and that line was too good to pass up. Apparently half her autograph requests are to sign Jessica photos.
I met Kathleen and Ian after Wednesday’s (18 June) evening performance at the Duchess Theatre. They both liked the sketch and were happy to sign it. I was tempted to ask Kathleen to write her Jessica line, but maybe I’ll keel that request for another sketch. I think The Graduate would be more appropriate.