ART National Tour 3/3/19
Art, written by Yasmina Reza and based on the original 1996 production by Matthew Warchus, showed last night at the Richmond Theatre as part of its national tour starring Nigel Havers, Stephen Tompkinson and Denis Lawson.  After winning pretty much every available major award back in the 90s during its original London run, I was excited to see this production and see if it lived up to the hype. My mother (who absolutely loves the show) worked in the box office of the original Wyndhams Theatre production, and reports that this touring production is near enough identical to its 1996 counterpart- after all, if it ain’t broke… 

Havers, Tompkinson and Lawson bring a masterclass in comedic subtleties, creating a connection with the audience as their eyes roll, shoulders shrug and we, the audience, feel their plight. Direction by Ellie Jones is seamless, with the three chairs, three entrances, and three dynamic characters weaving in and out of themselves and the “shitty” masterpiece at a phenomenal speed for the duration of the one act play. The dialogue, although often weighty and certainly considered, is impressively pacey and dynamic, and the trio work wonderfully with the text to deliver a hilarious outlook on human relationships. I was surprised that the show had been resurrected from production twenty years ago, as the script has scope for some exciting concepts and modernisation, but the white backing and living room setting gave a blank background to encourage the emphasis to be on the character’s relationships. 

It was an evening of laughing out loud, human relationships and spending a lot of money on a white piece of art- you can still catch this award-winning comedy in Richmond, Cheltenham, Shrewsbury or Aberdeen.