Following the unexpected death earlier this week of actor Barry Foster, the producers of the long-running West End three-hander Art, in which Foster was appearing as 'Marc', have announced updates to the casting arrangements at the Whitehall Theatre over the coming weeks.

Nigel Havers and David Lloyd Pack, alongside whom Foster was starring, will continue until 2 March 2002 in Yasmina Reza's comedy about three friends who fall out over a piece of modern art. They will be joined until Friday by Paul Freeman, who's played Foster's role of 'Marc' twice previously in the West End. This Saturday, 16 February, Freeman will be replaced by Richard Griffiths (pictured), who has also played 'Marc' in the West End production of Art, most recently in summer 2001.

Known to millions for his film work in hits such as Withnail & I, Chariots of Fire, Ghandi, Goldeneye and Harry Potter, Griffiths is also a stage veteran whose many theatre credits, in addition to Art, include Katherine Howard and The Man Who Came to Dinner (Chichester), Once In a Lifetime (Piccadilly Theatre), Verdi's Messiah (Old Vic), Rules of the Games and Heartbreak House (Almeida), and the National revival this past autumn of John Osborne's Luther.

Barry Foster died on Monday at the age of 70.

- by Terri Paddock