French playwright Yasmina Reza's Art has extended its booking period once again. The satirical comedy, which opened at Wyndham's Theatre in October 1996, is now booking to October 1998. Art tells the story of three Parisian friends who fall foul of each other when one of them buys a work of modern art. Since opening, the show has pulled in nearly £7m in ticket sales and has won both the 1996 Evening Standard and 1997 Olivier Best Comedy awards. The winning script has also attracted a steady stream of top-rate actors of the stage and screen. The show is now on its fourth cast -- Nigel Havers, Ron Cook and Malcolm Storry. Previous trios have comprised Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott (who opened the run); Mark Williams, Anton Lesser and David Haig; and Henry Goodman, Roger Allam and Stanley Townsend. A fifth cast, as yet unannounced, is due to start in January.
Reza, director Matthew Warchus and Christopher Hampton, who translated Art from the French, will be reunited this spring when the Royal Shakespeare Company produces Reza's British premiere of L'Homme du Hasard (or The Unexpected Man). The play, which will open at London's Barbican Pit Theatre in April, tells the story of middle-aged novelist Paul and his life-long fan Martha who meet on a train journey. Casting details have not yet been announced but the show is certain to attract the same calibre of actor as its predecessor.
Reza has won several awards in her native France for her works including Moliere awards for Best Author and Best Fringe production and in 1995 a Moliere award for Best Author for L'Homme du Hasard.