4 March 2019

Art at Richmond Theatre entertained


I have got into the happy habit of seeing most (drama) things on at Richmond Theatre and with a cast consisting of TV favourites Nigel Havers, Denis Lawson and Stephen Tompkinson I was obviously going to see Art when it's tour hit there. Clearly the claims on the poster were a boost too.

My ATG Theatre Card helped with the tickets and my Dress Circle A21 seat was a modest £29.

The simple premise of the play was three long-term friends reacting to the expensive purchase of a painting by one and the imminent marriage of another. They met in twos and a three in each other's homes, which were identical for the piece of art on the wall.

The play was constructed as a series of meetings of the friend and each was like a different sketch with its own mood and punchline. Two scenes that made a lasting impression were the one where the three of them sat not talking but eating olives and deposing of the stones noisily into a metal bowl, and the one where the husband to be gave a long unbroken monologue on the problems he has trying to organise the wedding; this got a round of applause for Stephen Tompkinson.

There were a lot of nice moments like that and Art was entertaining and amusing throughout though it never quite justified the claims on the poster. To be honest, I expected that as a good rule of thumb is that the weaker the play the stronger the cast required to pull the punters in. Art was by no means a weak play, but nor was it a masterpiece as some of the promotional literature claimed.

The good news is that all three members of the cast lived up to their high reputations and their performances lifted the material that they had to work with to make it a decent enough show.

Art entertained me, and that is all that I asked of it.

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