The current cast of Yasmina Reza's West End phenomenon are a bit on the old side for their characters but a joy to watch.
Art is now the fourth longest-running "real" play in the West End, and thus a commodity in itself. More than a few of its audience probably go to see it less because it is art than because it is Art; its producers and marketers have turned each quarterly cast change into a selling point. Still, Reza's three-hander is an elegant creation, at once light and substantial, providing by turns comedy, intellectual debate, palpable but not overbearing metaphor and personal compassion.
The end-of-2000 cast don't fit seamlessly into the roles: Ken Campbell is on the mature side for antsy bridegroom-to-be Yvan, and nobody could describe Warren Mitchell's laugh (as Marc) as "pretentious" or "know-it-all". But the two have a rapport developed over several years in TV's In Sickness And In Health, and John Fortune as wannabe Charles Saatchi Serge is equally delightful. It may not be the most English commentary on culture, but there's theatrical life in it yet.
Written for divento.com
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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