Printable CopyART
Verendus Theatrical
Holden Street Theatres
Until 02 Nov 2019

Review by Jamie Wright

In Yasmina Reza’s “Art”, three longtime friends are forced to examine their relationships after falling out when one buys a painting the others either find ridiculous or are completely baffled by – reactions which then prompt more acrimony when the conflicts go unresolved.

To read the plot summary the play might come across as little more than a comedy sketch or an episode of television, but Reza’s writing elevates the concept to well beyond that; the characters are each fully three-dimensional, with quirks and complexities that make the interactions all the more compelling.

Director Tim Williams has done an excellent job here, demonstrating a great understanding of what a play like this needs; the small space is used well (though the set was perhaps bit too sparse) and he’s made some good decisions, including having the characters remain still a lot more often than you might see in this kind of show – a clever move, as it allows more focus on the words and the fine detail in the physical performances, which is very noticeable in a small space like Holden Street.

The result is a very naturalistic feel where the more dramatic scenes can leave the audience feeling uncomfortably voyeuristic, which is a good contrast to the many laugh-out-loud moments.

The three performers – Alicia Zorkovic, Tracey Walker and Lyn Wilson – are perfectly cast, playing their characters with depth and complexity. Each has more than a few shining moments, but Wilson’s energetic re-enactment of a sequence of phone calls almost brought the house down. Much of the naturalism alluded to earlier stems from the ease with which the three interact throughout, even in the most emotional scenes.

An excellent piece of theatre, “Art” had far too short a run for such a good production. Here’s hoping Verendus – relative newcomers to the scene with only a handful of shows to their name – can continue to produce work of this quality.