The Olivier, Tony and Moliere award-winning comedy masterpiece ART, by Yasmina Reza, comes to Oxford Playhouse from Monday 4 to February 9.

Produced by David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers,  this Old Vic production will star Nigel Havers, Denis Lawson and Stephen Tompkinson as Serge, Marc and Ivan respectively.

Translated by Christopher Hampton, the comedy sees three long-time friends, Serge, Marc, and Yvan come to blows about the meaning of art and friendship. Serge, indulging his penchant for modern art, buys a large, expensive, completely white painting. Marc is horrified, and their relationship becomes strained as a result of their differing opinions about what constitutes “art”. Yvan, caught in the middle of the conflict, tries to please and mollify both of them.

Nigel Havers’ films include Chariots of Fire, A Passage to India, Empire of the Sunand The Whistle Blower.  He has starred in many television productions, including The Charmer, Dangerfield, Manchild, and, more recently, the hit US series Brothers and Sisters, Benidorm, Lewis Archer in Coronation Street, and Lord Hepworth in Downton Abbey.  His theatre work includes The Importance of Being Earnestand Harold Pinter’s Family Voices, both directed by Sir Peter Hall for the National Theatre, Richard IIand Man and Supermanfor the RSC, the hugely successful touring productions of Rebecca and Alan Bennett’s Single Spies.

Art – Stephen Tompkinson, Nigel Havers, and Denis Lawson. Credit: Matt Crockett

Denis Lawson is known for his roles as John Jarndyce in the BBC’s adaptation of Bleak House(for which he was nominated for both a BAFTA and an EMMY Award) and as DI Steve McAndrew in BBC1’s hit series New Tricks.  In film, his notable credits include the roles of Gordon Urquhart in the film Local Heroand Wedge Antilles in the original Star Warstrilogy. On stage, he won an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Jim Lancastar in Mr Cindersat the Fortune Theatre, and he was nominated for an Olivier for his performance as George in La Cages Aux Follesat the Playhouse Theatre.

Stephen Tompkinson’s television credits include BBC’s The Split, five series of DCI Banks, four series of Trollied, seven series of Wild at Heart, six series of Drop the Dead Donkey(British Comedy Award Winner for Best TV Comedy Actor) and three series of Ballykissangel, and his films include Phil in Brassed Off.  His theatre work includes Spamalot, Rattle of a Simple Man and Arsenic and Old Lace in the West End, Cloaca and A Christmas Carol (Old Vic) and Tartuffe (National Tour).

Credit: Matt Crockett

Based on the original production by Matthew Warchus, ART will be directed by Ellie Jones, with design by Mark Thompson, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound design by Mic Pool, original music by Gary Yershon, fight direction by Terry King and casting by Sarah Bird CDG.

Tickets for Art at Oxford Playhouse start at £10 and are available from the Ticket Office on 01865 305305 or book online at www.oxfordplayhouse.com

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