Tompkinson, Fleet & French Take on ArtDate: 11 January 2000
Yet another new cast is set to take over the roles of three friends who fall out over a piece of modern art in the award-winning West End production of Yasmina Reza's Art. The new cast, the production's thirteenth since opening at Wyndham's Theatre on 15 October 1996, features Michael French as Marc, Stephen Tompkinson as Serge and James Fleet as Yvan. They replace Edward Woodward, Peter Egan and Chris Langham for twelve weeks from 1 February 2000.
Principally known for their television and film work, French is currently starring in the new BBC1 series Holby City, after playing bad guy David Wicks in EastEnders for several years. His stage credits include Les Miserables and West Side Story. Tompkinson's many well-known television roles include Trevor in Grafters, Father Peter in Ballykissangel and Damien Day in Drop the Dead Donkey. His films include Brassed Off and Hotel Splendide. Fleet's television credits include four series of The Vicar of Dibley and his films include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sense and Sensibility and the upcoming Kevin and Perry. He also served two long spells with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1980s.
The London production of Art - translated by Christopher Hampton and directed by Matthew Warchus - has long attracted top-notch actors for its short stints. The original cast starred Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott. Subsequent casts have featured the likes of Richard Griffiths, Henry Goodman, David Haig, Anton Lesser, Tom Mannion, Art Malik and Nigel Havers as well as unlikely stars such as comedians Jack Dee and Frank Skinner.
In 1998, the Broadway production of Art, also directed by Warchus, opened to critical acclaim with a cast featuring Alan Alda, Victor Garber and Alfred Molina. Art won both the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best Comedy. In New York, the play won the Tony and New York Critics Circle Awards for Best Play. It is currently on tour in the US.