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


Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Three times Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. See more on

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