Art, directed by Matthew Warchus, has been running at The Old Vic Theatre and will finish its run Saturday the 18th of February this year. I recommend that you grab tickets, if you can, ASAP. (It has won awards, it’s that good.)
I hadn’t read the play or even heard of it, if I’m being honest, and was taken there by my French friend Camille who was intrigued by the whole concept; discussing art. I mean, who doesn’t like a good discussion, rant, argument, fight about their opinions on art anyway? It’s so subjective. Starring Tim Key, Paul Ritter and Rufus Sewell, this play hilariously tests friendship, prejudice and tolerance. Very tastefully, including all the swearing, this piece opens all these questions about culture, taste and what is art and where is it going? Which is mirrored with their friendship and relationships. Giving the audience a great balance between comedy and drama.
The play beings with one of the three characters purchasing a plain white piece of art work, 4 foot by 5 foot, for one thousand euros and the other character being horrified and offended and thus, bring on the discussion.
As an audience member, you are presented with three different characters with three different opinions which allows you to choose whose side you’re on; who you most agree with and almost, who you want to win. The show makes
you question your own opinions and art knowledge without any angst or personal hate, which makes the whole experience incredibly fun. I identified with one character so strongly which just heightened the humour.
The stage is simply beautiful, all clean, white and bright, which adds to the ridiculousness of the character buying a white piece of art; or does it?
There are three different styled chairs which reflect the actor’s opinions and moods when they sit on them. One was very ultra-modern, one was a classically tasteful armchair and the other was quite vintage, something you would see in a stately home. These were placed around one table in the middle. There is one section/scene were each character is sat on ‘their’ chair, in a mood because they’ve been arguing. They haven’t been able to go out to dinner because of the arguing and they’re all ignoring one another. One character brings out a bowl of olives. They are then forced stand up to take an olive from the table, sit back down, eat their olive and then stand back up to put their pip
s in a bowl and take another olive. No words are spoken and through the actors amazing skill and timing, feelings of tension, fear, angst, forgiveness and laughter come through.
Credit to all three actors who gelled brilliantly together. Tim Key has one scene where he rushes on stage stressed and rants continuously for what felt like a good ten minutes, that the audience burst into applause. He provided a true, honest freak out and it was hilarious. Fantastic acting.
Rufus Sewell played his role with such ease and sophistication I would be scared to approach him at a dinner party. I believed his character really loved this white piece of art work and his use of the stage was brilliant. He’s such a heart throb. At the end of the show he came out and I was lucky enough to get a photo and have a conversation with him.
Paul Ritter’s character is the one I identified with, so for me he stole the show. Dramatic, stubborn, a bit selfish, cocky, witty… what a wonderful performance.
To round off, this play is a fantastic piece of theatre, filled with laughter and love. The seat prices have a good range, so if you’re looking for a show to see, maybe for Valentines day? You’ll leave laughing with a good topic for conversation. Hopefully, you’ll have the chance to see it.
Look. Aren’t we beautiful?