Fine Art Delights Theatre Crowds


Theatre Severn

Monday the 18th –Saturday 23rd March


It has been a while coming to Shrewsbury has this quirky little three hander. Written , originally in French by Yasmina Reza it has been making English people laugh for almost two decades. So obviously there was an excitement in the packed house as the lights went down and the silence descended in anticipation for what it has all been about.

With a star studded cast it is impossible to believe that this 80 minute little drama has amassed a cool £200 million in a worldwide market that can’t get enough of this play.

Stephen Tompkinson, Dennis Lawson and Nigel Havers created the three friends of which the play is based. One the three friends, Serge (Havers) buys a white painting. It is entirely white, he paid £200,000 for it and is so happy and proud he wishes to show his two friends, Marc (Lawson) and Yvyan (Tompkinson.) Whilst Marc can’t hide his contempt to the piece and sees it a stupid waste of money Yvan tries to be less derogatory and pretends to like it to prop up his friend’s sensibilities as he is clearly hurt by the other one’s scoff.

This is a story of so much more than art. It is social satire at it’s very best. It is an exploration into pride and vanity, it is an exploration of the dynamics of friendship, it explores it’s expectations, it’s reward and its price. Three men who are tangled together through friendship and love cannot see why they are friends. They realise they are so different from each other they shouldn’t be . When the painting comes between their levels of intellectual acceptability, the trouble begins.

As one expected the performances are quality. The layers of character worn by the complex three is so good to watch. Mr. Tompkinson’s pathos and honesty made up by gesture and movement as well as deliverance of lines , Mr. Lawson’s Marc was beautifully observed and Mr. Havers has the suave, sophistication just so.  All three of them trying to understand a bigger existential question, and that is the question of how their friendship ever survives through such hatred. What is friendship? What are each’s expectations of the other two? They mistake their love for hatred and hold up to the microscope the thin line between the two.

There is so much of all of us in this work. One finds especially in male relationships a macho dishonesty,  affection can be shown with an insult and love can be shown by a physical gesture like a chest bump or a mighty big fist pump. So many want to break out into honesty but oddly enough amongst other men it is neither wanted nor expected. One realises as one pontificates over the value of male friendship one is reacting to the writer and answering some of her questions to oneself. Surely the work of a great writer, who can say so much by saying something else.

This is a highly professional, highly polished and thoroughly valuable piece of theatre it is here all week and it is most certainly something that this reviewer believes from design to music to dynamics to performance it is a faultless piece, this is something you shall want to see.

Colleges, Schools and Universities who teach drama should get along just for a masterclass in pure stagecraft, it is a treat.

This is a Five Star Review

Owen J.Lewis


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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