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Havers and co shine in ART at the Cambridge Arts Theatre

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ART - Nigel Havers, Denis Lawson, Stephen Tompkinson. Picture: Jon Swannell
ART - Nigel Havers, Denis Lawson, Stephen Tompkinson. Picture: Jon Swannell

Three of the UK's finest actors are appearing at the venue in the city until February 24 in a new production of Yasmina Reza's ART.

The wryly-observed ART is one of the most successful plays ever. Having opened in 1996, it took both the West End and Broadway by storm and has since won every major theatre award, including an Olivier and a Tony.

Nigel Havers stars as Serge, a dermatologist who spends an extortionate amount of money on an all-white modernist painting. His close friends Marc (Denis Lawson) and Yvan (Stephen Tompkinson) are baffled and various strained emotions, hurtful jibes and bitter revelations ensue.

The play starts well, with fast-moving, witty dialogue and snappy jazz music perfectly suited to the piece. Of particular note early on was Denis Lawson’s excellent portrayal of the cynical Marc.

Havers’ portrayal of a mild-mannered middle class man convinced he’s made a sound purchase is enjoyable too, while Tompkinson, whose Yvan you can’t help but feel sorry for, is impressive as the rather downtrodden friend caught in the middle of the increasingly volatile conflict between Serge and Marc.

Tompkinson’s very humourous and incredibly long-winded explanation of why he was late to an informal gathering drew much applause from the audience and was arguably the standout moment of the show.

All three of the actors excelled in their respective roles and, although I was expecting to laugh out loud more than I did, I found the play was a pleasant way to spend an evening – and something to discuss and disect afterwards.

ART runs at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, February 24, with no performance on Sunday, February 18.

The show starts at 7.45pm and there are matinees on Thursdays and Saturdays at 2.30pm. There is no interval.


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