Theatre Scenes: "The Maidment Theatre's transformation is nothing in comparison to Michael Hurst's stunning transformation. Hurst has always been the transformative actor and a transfixing presence onstage, hurling himself into roles, never willing to reuse the same old bag of tricks. . . . the transformation goes far beyond mimicry, Hurst creating life onstage as the complex Rothko, delivering his rants and insights on life and art with relish. . . . He's an actor still at the top of his game, and John Logan's Rothko is quite the showcase for his talent".
NZ Herald: "Michael Hurst's portrayal of the legend is a wonderfully nuanced study of complexity and contradiction. . . . the play really comes to life in the artist's explosive confrontation with a younger painter who has taken on the thankless task of working as the sorcerer's apprentice".
NBR: "Michael Hurst is remarkable as the obsessive, critical and peevish artist who wants to make significant art. He exudes a nervous energy as well as a quirky and serious mind which is reflected in the intensity of the large red art works which dominate the stage. . . . The two actors manage to engage superbly in the rich dialogue of intertwined heated discussions and convoluted digressions. . . . The play is a fine mix of drama spiced with comic moments as well as serious discussion of aesthetics tinged with artistic hubris".
Theatreview: "In creating Rothko, Hurst has transformed himself. People may say he has the advantage of looking like the original which he does in this production--but it's the craft of the actor, not a quirk of nature that has brought this about. There is none of the dazzling Hurst flamboyance that so often carries us away, but rather a resolute stoicism, a carefully understated fervour that is, at once, intimidating and endearing.
It's hard not to love someone so immersed in what they do and, in this, character and actor merge almost seamlessly. There are no cracks in the Hurst characterisation, what you see and feel is what this mastercraftsman wants you to see and feel. As always, he takes no prisoners, and the vulnerabilities are all carefully calculated.
Yet he's funny too. Funny and quirky. Hurst clocks up the laughs but never at the expense of the script or narrative. Each is beautifully placed to relieve tension or to illustrate a point . . . "
Listener: "Hurst delivers a reliably rounded performance, exposing the fragility beneath Rothko's bombast. . . . the play itself is largely a contemplative, idea-driven affair, and this production succeeds in communicating these often complex concepts with admirable clarity".
Craccum: "(5/5) . . . Michael Hurst fully embodies painter Mark Rothko and isn't afraid to delve into the ugly and unromantic side of a tortured artist, the cliche of which he respectfully avoids. . . . be sure to get along and witness one of Auckland's best productions to date".
Express: "Michael Hurst as an aging, irascible Rothko . . . contrasts brilliangly with Elliot Christensen-Yule's portrayal as Ken . . . a highly satisfying and enjoyable experience . . . I can unreservedly recommend a night at the Maidment for this performance".