Andy Warhol proved to be a divisive figure during his life, with people still trying to derive meaning from his art today. Warhol: Bullet Karma is writer and actor Garry Roost’s attempt to demystify the enigma surrounding both Warhol’s art and personality, as well as break down the events leading to one of the greatest traumas which occurred in his life – his shooting by Valerie Solonas.
Warhol: Bullet Karma is held in the gorgeous Cabinet Room at Treasury 1860, and begins with Roost strutting to the front dressed as Warhol in all black, as well as a pair of trademark Warhol-esque glasses. He performs in a conversational style, starting with telling the story around his shooting, then switching between characters to tell different perspectives of the same story. Using his table of props, Roost was able to differentiate between characters by doing a swift change of costume, usually as small as changing his glasses. This turned out to be an effective and efficient way to continue the story, and allowed the show to flow without any breaks.
Garry Roost has written a show which cleverly switches between perspectives to deliver his story, and the way in which Roost switches between characters and accents is done with great aplomb. Whether the content of the show is a true reflection of the characters thoughts and actions or if there is much conjecture is unclear, however, the presentation of each story is so compelling that it would be a shame if the facts presented weren’t true. The Cabinet Room is also a great choice of venue, as there is a feeling that Warhol is telling his story from his own personal office, adding to the intimacy of the performance.
Roost does a great job with his Warhol imitation, however, there is still a feeling that you don’t really know him any better come the end. This is possibly by design, or just the fact that Warhol is just too huge a figure to condense into an hour-long show. It also felt at times that the show was a run-through of Warhol’s life, rather than a clear narrative with a conclusive end goal. However, if you are not an expert on things Warhol related then there is still a lot of value in the show, and as mentioned, Roost’s characterisations make it worth it.
Warhol: Bullet Karma is a show stuffed full of great characterisations from Warhol’s artistic heyday, and Garry Roost’s performance really brings these characters to life. If you are keen on taking a trip back in time to The Factory, Warhol: Bullet Karma is a great way to see Warhol and other important figures of the day. Check out this show for a lesson in pop culture history.
Warhol: Bullet Karma runs until Sunday 10th of March. Buy tickets HERE.
By Tania Nicholas