THEATRE REVIEW: Art starring Rufus Sewell, Paul Ritter & Tim Key


WHERE: Old Vic

WHEN: 12/12, runs to 18/2/17

Art is the story of three middle class men whose friendship is tested when one, Serge played by Rufus Sewell, buys a modern piece of art for 100,000 Euros.

  • Read on for reasons including why performance poet Tim Key is a name to look out for

A hit in the 90s, it’s translated from French and is unusual, not least because it’s not often three male characters, the show’s only cast, interrogate and pick each other apart, yet do so with such real affection for each other.

It doesn’t sound much of a comedy but Paul Ritter (outstanding and so versatile in TV shows including The Game and No Offence) and performance poet Tim Key, who we confess we didn’t know much about before tonight, are especially funny.

We’re big fans of Sewell’s from Amazon’s The Man In the High Castle but found him hard to hear in Closer at the Donmar last year and do so again here. Sometimes stars of TV and film find it difficult to project and resort to mumbling, a continued criticism we’d make of Sewell.

Director Matthew Warchus does little remarkable here but has completely turned the Old Vic around as artistic director and we’re very much looking forward to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Woyzek next year. As well as the return of family favourite musical The Lorax.

His direction is subtle here yet we’d expected to find this one-act, 90-minute tale of the formidable powers of an all-white piece of art to be a little more laugh-out-loud than we did.

  • Picture by Manuel Harlan via Facebook courtesy Old Vic. Tickets
  • Enjoyed this preview? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham or check us out on Facebook

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