Serge (Nigel Havers) a dermatologist, has just bought a painting for £200,000. The painting is a 6 x 4 white canvas, with a few white diagonal stripes and one white horizontal stripe at the bottom. Serge loves his painting and is very proud of it.
He has asked his friends of 25 years, Marc (Denis Lawson), an engineer and Yvan (Stephen Tompkinson), a stationery salesman, their opinions. What pursues is a 90-minute, one-act masterpiece, that explores how three old friends, who have grown into three different class systems in society, react to a £200,000 white canvas.
What makes ART such a hilarious and clever play is the audience’s relatability. Everyone has a friend like Serge who buys something, that no one else can understand or appreciate and you are left asking yourself, Why?
This Old Vic Production of Yasmina Rezas’ play has you laughing from beginning to end. Translated into English by Christopher Hampton, this play has a lot of fame. The rights were originally bought by Sean Connery in the 90s, who paid for Christopher to translate it into English after watching it in French. It was then produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers on the West End, where it is still today considered the most successful play of the last 25 years, winning every major theatre award in the UK, while running in the West End for several years.
The three actors were incredible. They are a walking masterclass in comic timing. Every breath was thought about and earned. Stephen Tompkinson’s hysterical monologue was an acting masterpiece, while the olive pip scene, directed by Ellie Jones, was the funniest moment I have experienced in the theatre for years.
I would recommend this play for all audiences. It always upsets me when seeing straight plays on tour, that they don’t sell well. The house was half full. However the show deserves so much more.
So, everyone, I plead with you, if you want to see 90 minutes of comic genius, go see ART at the Welsh Millennium Centre before you miss out.