Art topper

It might be £200,000 - but i it art, a question for Stephen Tompkinson as Yvan, Nigel Havers as Serge and Denis Lawson as Marc. Picture: Matt Crockett


Malvern Theatres


Modern art undoubtedly divides opinion! There are those who look and consider it genius; others are sooner inclined to describe it as ‘s**t’. This is the starting point for Yasmin’s Reza’s hit show Art which took London theatre critics by storm in 1996.

Serge has purchased a modern painting, a white canvas 4ft by 5ft, with a hint of diagonal lines crossing its surface, for £200,000 to the total frustration of his friend Marc.

Serge, Marc and Yvan are thrust into vehement arguments by the painting that push their longstanding friendship to breaking point.

Whether Reza’s personal views on modern art are intentionally conveyed here is somewhat debateable, but what are brilliantly delivered are the dramatic dialogue and vigorous and passionate feelings of the three men in a way that is hugely entertaining and humorous.

The very staccato switches between dialogue and monologue, revealing the inner thoughts and feelings of the trio, are pinpointed by lighting switches and sound cues, uually to  hilarious effect.

This excellent production is acted by three top class performers. Stephen Tompkinson is outstanding as Yvan. His comic facial expressions, the ungainly contortions of his considerable frame and the timing of his delivery is first class

At one point he delivers a very rapid and lengthy description of complex family interactions regarding the upcoming wedding between himself, his fiancée and the stepmothers in a brilliant and hilarious outburst that drew a spontaneous round of applause from the audience.

Nigel Havers (Serge) and Denis Lawson (Marc) have straighter characters but do so with a slickness, sharpness and pacy delivery that makes for excellent theatre.

This production is excellent in all respects. The design is simple, minimalist and modern: the tall white set has enough shape to give it depth and texture, the lighting provides sharp definition to the

cast and set, the sound plot gives a light impact to add to the sense of humour in the production overall.

The creative team have thus combined under the excellent direction of Ellie Jones to provide a wonderful theatrical experience which was hugely appreciated by the full audience at Malvern Theatres on the first night of the run there.

This very theatrical and humorous play poses questions, about modern art, about loneliness, about relationships in our modern world, that intrigue without making any very serious commentary. A very enjoyable evening – get along for a light but thought-provoking show if you can get tickets this week. To 02-03-19

Tim Crow


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