At the Whitehall Theatre, where Art relocated to in October 2001 after nearly five years in the nearby Wyndham’s Theatre, Havers, Foster and Lloyd Pack can be seen from 28 January to 16 February 2002. They take over from Leigh Lawson, Simon Shepherd and Philip Franks, who will now take the comedy out on a fresh nationwide tour, visiting 11 UK cities over three months.
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.
The London production of Art - translated by Christopher Hampton and directed by Matthew Warchus - has long attracted well-known actors for its short stints. The original cast starred Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott. Subsequent casts have featured Henry Goodman, David Haig, Anton Lesser, Tom Mannion and Art Malik as well as comedians Frank Skinner and Jack Dee. Imported American casts have also brought the likes of Patrick Duffy, Richard Thomas, Judd Hirsch, George Wendt and Stacy Keach to the West End.
The new 2002 tour of Art will launch in Sheffield before visiting Darlington, Poole, Eastbourne, Richmond, Cheltenham, Reading, Plymouth, Newcastle, Nottingham and Northampton.
- by Terri Paddock