ART at the Theatre Royal Plymouth Review

26 February to 3 March 2018


Reviewed by Linda Curtain

ART – What makes an everyday item into a work of art and who decides whether it is worthy of such a title? That was certainly the question on everyone’s mind at the opening night of the aptly named stage play ART.

On stage at the Theatre Royal Plymouth this week, this play gives the audience a chance to see the effect that the purchase of a white canvas can have on the friendship of three men with very differing views on art.

The Theatre Royal Plymouth is situated in the centre of Plymouth on the main Royal Parade. With easy access and plenty of nearby parking, it’s a great venue for theatre goers to enjoy all types of theatre entertainment. It was good to see the theatre so busy last evening with lots of people enjoying a pre-show coffee in the foyer coffee shop – certainly very welcome on such a cold evening.

Yasmina Reza’s comedy, which is at the second venue of its national tour, originally opened in the West End over 20 years ago. It is basically a simple story of three men and a white painting but how complex that can become! When Serge (played by Nigel Havers) buys an expensive white (with a few white lines!) painting, his long-term friend Marc (played by Denis Lawson) doesn’t hold back in voicing his dislike of the item. Their friendship is truly tested as they continue to debate whether this is art. Yvan (played by Stephen Tompkinson) becomes caught between the two friends as he tries to act as the middle man.

With a very basic but elegant stage set – with white chairs, white table and white walls – the changing from one room to another by a turning wall panel was very effective.

The three accomplished actors each dealt with their roles and long, complex dialogues amazingly and the use of ‘freeze frame’ was very effective when the thoughts of the individuals were being expressed. Comic timing was excellent as was the use of facial expression between the three men.

A great, thought provoking play which raises many questions about both art and friendship.

With a recommended age of 8+ due to some of the language content, I do feel that children would struggle to follow the narrative and that this is more suited to an adult audience.

A good 4* production.

Rating: 4/5

Tickets cost from £10 to £30 (booking fees may apply).

ART is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from 26 February to 3 March 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit or call the box office on 01752 267222.

Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222

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