"An incisive observation brilliantly executed"
by Jill Lawrie for remotegoat on 26/01/19

Currently touring the UK is Yasmina Reza’s theatrical treat “Art”. It premiered in London in 1996 with the West End cast being Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott. This blisteringly funny play full of sophisticated, shrewd satire has lost none of its appeal and this time around stars Denis Lawson (Marc), Stephen Tompkinson (Yvan) and Nigel Havers reprising his role as Serge from the original touring production.

Reza is something of a mystery, her father a Jewish Iranian, her mother a Hungarian violinist and she an elegant Parisienne. Her incisive observations and abrasive character exposures are phenomenal both in this play and another of her successful works “God of Carnage”.

This 3-hander centres around a plain white modernist painting bought for an exorbitant sum by suave, divorced dermatologist Serge. His snobbish friend Marc, an aeronautical engineer with more classical taste, is unmoved by this purchase referring to the canvas in extremely derogatory terms. While the professionally unsuccessful Yvan to some extent goes along with the pretence of being impressed by the acquisition despite being sorely upset and severely stressed with his own pre-nuptial tensions even admitting to paying for therapy sessions. Despite their 25-year friendship, as the dialogue flows and the tempo hots up, such discord unravels it threatens to destroy their long-term friendship and finally culminates in the pivotal painting being defaced with a blue felt tip marker!
Leading TV actor Nigel Havers needs no introduction as he effortlessly revisits the role of the affluent poseur Serge. Straight forward talking Marc is played to perfection by Denis Lawson whose many TV/film credits include “New Tricks”, “Holby City” and “Inside No 9”. Stephen Tompkinson is positively outstanding as Yvan, his verbal dexterity throughout a prolonged emotional monologue is quite breathtaking.

The magnetic chemistry between this threesome is palpable as criticism and slander turn to scuffles and tears, masterfully delivered character interaction by a trio in top form. What begins as a discussion on modern art rapidly degenerates as war breaks out leading to much colourful language and dynamic wit, all shot through with biting humour.

Comes highly recommended ~ you will not be disappointed.

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