Alfred Molina says new role has inspired him to start creating his own mini-Rothkos

Isobel Frodsham
Painting it Red: Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch at press night: Dave Benett

Playing Mark Rothko in West End show Red has inspired Alfred Molina to create his own mini-masterpieces, dubbed “Frothkos”.

After the opening night of the revival of John Logan’s Red at Wyndham’s Theatre, Molina, 64, told the Standard: “Although I’ve never painted properly, I’ve started doing what I call Frothkos — Fred Rothkos.

“They’re similes of Rothko’s early work in crayon on small pieces of paper – roughly the size of an iPhone. Whenever I see a spare piece of paper, I’ll do it with a crayon or a pencil. It’s pretty terrible but I find it amazing.”

Asked if he thought the pieces would be hung anywhere, he joked: “Without a doubt! I’m just waiting for a call from the Tate.”

The actor, who is starring in the production for the third time, described the latest run as “unfinished business”.

The show had its premiere at the Donmar in 2009 and bypassed the West End — heading straight to Broadway in 2010, where it won six Tony Awards.

The two-man show chronicles Rothko’s creation of three murals for the Four Seasons restaurant in New York in the Fifties.

Molina said picking up the paintbrush again felt more like a “rediscovery” than a “revival”, due to Alfred Enoch playing Rothko’s assistant, Ken. He added: “Having not done it in the West End, it felt like unfinished business. It’s a good play which is worth doing again.”

Enoch, 29, who played Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter films, stepped into the role originally played by Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne at the Donmar. He said: “I didn’t see the play first time round and I was always gutted about it, but now I’m quite glad, because frankly, it’s even better to get to do it.”