Yasmina Reza's Art has been a hit all over Europe, but perhaps its most distinguised cast is playing in the West End: Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay.
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Absolutely perfect in the deft acting department are Tom Courtney, Albert Finney and Ken Stott in the new play by France's Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton called, simply, ART.
Crisply directed by Matthew Warchus, ART is about art and the art of friendship. When Tom Courtney's character, Serge, an endocrinologist, purchases a pure white painting for 250,000 francs, his life-long friend, Marc (Albert Finney), a burly no-nonsense businessman, cannot accept this idiocy in his friend. Their friendship is theatrened by this imbroglio and they quickly enmesh their mutual friend Yvan (Ken Stott) in their spat.
As Paul Webb in the play's program so aptly puts it: "ART reflects not just the specific debate between supporters of figurative and abstract art but this wider issue of individuals' relationships with each other, asking the same questions of authenticity and truth: should one really tell a friend the truth about something that matters to him, be it a painting or a lover? Or should one accept that value lies in the eye of the beholder and thus refrain from making hostile comment? If subjective opinion is the purest measurement of the value of a work of art, is a friendship worth a few white lies?" All this an laughter too. ART makes you laugh and think -- a true work of ART. (1/2/97)