Havers-led Art Replaces Blues at WhitehallDate: 24 August 2001
Yamina Reza's award-winning comedy Art will celebrate its fifth birthday in the West End on 14 October 2001 by transferring from Wyndham's to the Whitehall Theatre. At its new home, it will replace The Blues Brothers, which has posted a closing date of 13 October 2001. The Art regional touring cast (pictured) of Nigel Havers, Barry Foster and David Lloyd Pack will assume the roles of the three friends who fall out over a modern painting.
Art will end its Wyndham's run on 14 October, before reopening on 16 October at Whitehall. Speaking to Whatsonstage.com, the show's producer David Pugh said: "Art is the Wyndham's longest ever running show, beating The Boyfriend's stint in the 1950s. The venue is a jewel in the West End's crown and we are proud of our association with it. However, business has been rather up and down this summer what with one thing and another. So I made the decision myself to make the change, rather than wait for someone else to call and say that things were no longer feasible for the show. The costs at the Whitehall in terms of rent and other matters are lower, and this way we give Art the chance to have a really long run. I won't talk in terms of The Moustrap, but we are still planning ahead for Art."
Havers trained at the Arts Educational Trust in London, and his initial stage work included Richard II and Edward II with the Prospect Theatre group. Early television successes were A Horseman Riding By, with the 1987 series The Charmer bringing him to nationwide attention. Havers' film career has taken in The Whistle Blower, Empire of the Sun and Chariots of Fire. More recently, he has appeared on stage in Family Voices (National Theatre) as well as Art at Wyndham's in 1998.
Lloyd Pack is known to a generation of TV viewers as Trigger in Only Fools and Horses. He trained at RADA, with film and television appearances including Prick Up Your Ears, Wilt, 1984, Inspector Morse and Heartbeat. Foster trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama, and made his stage debut in 1952. He appeared in Hitchcock's 1972 film Frenzy and in the TV series Smiley's People and A Woman Called Golda.
Art opened at the Wyndham's on 15 October 1996, and has undergone numerous cast changes over the years. Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Richard Griffiths are among the names to have interpreted the trio of friends. Art has won both the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best Comedy, while the New York production won the Tony and New York Critics Circle Awards for Best Play.
- by Gareth Thompson