Mon 12 March 2001 - Sat 17 Mar 2001. Mon - Sat eve 7.30pm, Wed & Sat mat 2.30pm. Milton Keynes Theatre. BOX OFFICE-01908 60 60 90.
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It can be crumbly and old and Irish. Or indeed from any other country. It can be quite nice at first but then the more you look the more you can see it's actually quite vile. Some art costs millions and millions, some are just cheap , nasty old and not worth talking about. Art often features young women and lustful thoughts, but mainly features four and a half inch penises and the like. Yellow is a nice colour but I couldn't look at it for a year. Some pictures age badly, some are just ugly to begin with. Some include married people with children. Some show alcoholics with a nasty vile tongue. Others do not. Some people see Art for what it is. Others remain confused or simply will not say what is in front of their eyes. Some Art is talentless and over rated. Indeed, some Art fools young women into believing that there is a future, when all the time it will stay the same. Art knows only itself.
When it comes to Art. Do you sometimes feel that those who set themselves up as ‘critics’ and arbiters of taste are taking the Mickey big time? If so. Treat yourself to a theatre ticket for the SeanConnery/David Pugh production of Yasmina Reza’s comedy ART. The play was first performed in Paris at the Comedie des Champs Elysees in 1994, where it was seen by Sean Connery, who on his wife advice decided to back an English language production. The renowned playwright Christopher Hampton then translated Yasmina Reza’s work. And the rest as they say, was history! This particular production is now in its fifth year, and has been seen by thousands all around the world. It has won numerous awards including a Tony Award in New York, but I think the best ‘award’ it gets, is the rich laughter, and thunderous applause of its audiences. I was lucky enough to get tickets when the production came to Milton Keynes Theatre. I say lucky, because when such famous actors as Nigel Havers, Barry Foster, and Roger Lloyd Pack are performing, overnight ‘sell-outs’ of seats, are the norm. The story revolves around three Parisian friends. Marc played by Barry Foster. Serge played by Nigel Havers, and Yvan played by Roger Lloyd Pack. Marc is world weary, cynical, and brutally honest. Serge is gentler, easily swayed, and easily hurt. Yvan is the pacifist. Piggy-in-the-middle wanting to agree with everyone. The play opens in Serge’s flat, where Marc has been invited to view his best friends’ latest artistic acquisition. Purchased on the ‘good’ authority of a leading art critic. The painting ( and I use the term loosely) which cost Serge 200,000 francs, is a large canvas painted pure white. From that point the dialogue is fast, furious, and very, very funny, with one monologue by Yvan ( Roger Lloyd Pack) faultlessly del
ivered , with scarce a breath being taken, bringing the audience to its knees with laughter. And I have to say, the man who spent so many years playing the lovable, but pretty dense Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, is without doubt a scene stealer. ART is the kind of play where clear ‘affinity’ between the players is a must. And these three very fine actors have it in spades. My only criticism of this play, is that it is too short. When it concludes, even though the ‘issues’ between the friends have been happily resolved, one is left wanting more. Which I suppose is the mark of an excellent piece of writing, brilliantly performed. So if you get the opportunity to see this play. Take it.. You will not be disappointed I promise.