After Shakespeare’s rather heavy King Lear, the Old Vic brings Yasmina Reza’s comedy Art back to life, and if you’ve ever thought that women were any less funny than men, Art is proof that you’re an idiot.
Think about your best friends and ask yourself: why are these people my friends? Is it because you share a longing to get wasted on Friday night/a love for a football team/a desire to complain about your husbands over tea? Or is it because you grew up together? If it’s mostly the latter, have you ever asked yourself why you keep on seeing on each other?
Perhaps you needed your friends to survive high school, but that doesn’t mean you need them today. Maybe one of your friends mentored you, but there comes a point in life when you grow wise enough to make your own decisions, or hand them over to a life-partner. And some people change. Do you know that guy who used to be really eccentric, but somewhere along the road decided that he wanted a normal life, and went on to sell stationary? Sometimes it feels like there’s really no need to keep on inviting him.
And now think about art and ask yourself: what would I spend on a painting? If you had a million euros, would you spend that on a Van Gogh, even if you did not love the painting? What if the painting was white with white diagonal lines and your friend, with whom you no longer have that much in common, decided to spend a half year income on it; would it affect what’s left of your friendship?
Yasmina Reza’s comedy Art combines these questions and answers them through brilliant dialogues, expertly translated by Christopher Hampton and perfectly executed by Rufus Sewell, Tim Key and Paul Ritter. Art is probably the funniest play this year in London and definitely if you’re not into slapstick. It will make you laugh from the moment the, in the Old Vic metaphorical, curtain goes up and you’ll still be laughing long after you’ve left the theatre.
The Old Vic, London. Saturday 10 December 2016 – Saturday 18 February 2017 – Tickets: £12 – £65