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Review: Art, Theatre Royal, Norwich

Three acting favourites unite in this highly amusing play.

The trio, Nigel Havers, Stephen Tompkinson and Denis Lawson, are no doubt having the time of their lives as they play old friends whose relationship is under pressure.

They are all quite different but have enjoyed each other’s varying personalities until now.

The play was written, in French, in the 1990s by Yasmina Reza and is translated by Christopher Hampton and show plenty of insights into how society expects us to behave and what chaos follows when we don’t.

Marc’s (Lawson) immediate and brutal dismissal of Serge’s (Havers) new painting takes him by surprise and what follows is basically an almighty meltdown as old issues are exposed and a few scores settled. It sounds as if it should be a harrowing piece but rather, it is packed with humour and near slapstick moments. Indeed, Tompkinson, as the peace-maker Yvan, in particular displays terrific comic timing.

The piece runs straight through for 90 minutes so the pace doesn’t break, and you sense the disagreements and repercussions continue for much longer!

Sarah Hardy

The show continues until Saturday. Visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

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