OLIVIA Jayne Newton's musical take on the life of Van Gogh makes for an original and refreshing production unlike any depiction of the artist seen in adaptation.

Instead of quiet and restrained, Simon Arm-Reading's Vincent is rude, flighty and foul-mouthed. Suddenly we see why Van Gogh was an unpopular as well as a troubled man.

Each of the characters depicted in this play are at turns flawed and charming, and it's especially nice to see a relationship between Vincent and his brother Theo (played with skill by Richard Thirwell who stands out as one of the play's greatest acting strengths).

The direction by Newton and Alison Morgan does well to visualise Van Gogh's art on the stage, in particular with Jools Morgan's Paintbrush whose dances help to compose Starry Night off the canvas.

York Press:

Olivia Jayne Newton's cast for Vincent: Portrait Of The Artist

Newton's compositions help bring the atmosphere of a Parisian soiree to life, as well as moving the script skilfully along to quieter more contemplative moments. Sonia de Lorenzo's Sien starts rough and ready, but her swagger is stripped away to reveal a vulnerable child. Likewise, the score's motifs help to map Van Gogh's deteriorating mental state. Musical numbers are reminiscent of Les Miserables, with memorable reprises and delicate ballads making for an enticing soundtrack.

While the technical aspects could do with fine tuning (there were some spotlights needed during musical numbers which could have been better positioned), the overall effect of the script and acting is a charming production which is sure to appeal to a large audience.