Full casting is today announced for Art at The Old Vic. Tim Key, Paul Ritter and Rufus Sewell star in Yasmina Reza’s dazzling study of friendship, prejudice and tolerance. One of the most acclaimed plays of recent times, Art premiered in London twenty years ago and went on to become a phenomenon. Director Matthew Warchus reunites the original creative team for this new production, running from 10 December 2016 to 18 February 2017, with a press night on 20 December.
Three friends and a white painting…
Art is written by Yasmina Reza, translated from the French by Christopher Hampton. It’s directed by Warchus and designed by Mark Thompson with lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound by Mic Pool and music by Gary Yershon.
Tim Key plays Yvan. Tim won the Edinburgh Comedy Award (formerly the Perrier award) in 2009 for his weird and wonderful poetry/stand-up fusion. He has since had three books of his work published and made three series of his BBC Radio 4 show Tim Key’s Late Night Poetry Programme. He has also written and performed in the sketch show Cowards on BBC Radio 4 and BBC 4 (TV). On Television he plays Sidekick Simon in Alan Partridge’s Midmorning Matters and momentarily moved into Mark and Jeremy’s flat in the final series of Channel 4’s Peep Show. On stage he has performed in Daniel Kitson’s two-hander Tree at The Old Vic. Tim has recently finished filming E4’s new globetrotting comedy drama Foreign Bodies, written by his regular collaborator Tom Basden. He regularly performs his terse poems on the comedy circuit, and currently is developing new poetry to be performed in London and then, hopefully, beyond.
Paul Ritter plays Marc. His theatre credits include John Major in The Audience opposite Helen Mirren (Gielgud Theatre), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, The Hothouse and Coram Boy for which he received an Olivier Award nomination for playing Otis Gardiner (National Theatre). Paul also received Olivier and Tony award nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Best Featured Actor respectively for his performance in The Norman Conquests at The Old Vic and on Broadway. His film work includes Suite Francaise, Complicit, The Eagle, The Other Man, Quantam of Solace, Nowhere Boy, The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz and The Libertine. Paul also starred in Love You More directed by Sam Taylor-Wood, which won Best British Short film at the British Independent Film Awards. Upcoming films to be released include The Limehouse Golem, Their Finest and Inferno. Paul’s television credits include Friday Night Dinner, We’re Doomed! The Dad’s Army Story, Mapp & Lucia, The Game, The Bletchley Circle, Great Expectations, Pulling, and Channel 4’s No Offence, for which he’s currently filming the second series.
Rufus Sewell plays Serge. On stage, Rufus most recently played Larry in David Leveaux’s production of Closer at The Donmar Warehouse. His other work includes Old Times (Harold Pinter Theatre), Rock N’ Roll (Royal Court, Duke of York’s and Bernard Jacobsen Theatre, New York – winning an Olivier Award, London Critics Circle Award and Evening Standard Award for Best Actor and receiving nominations at the Tony Awards, Drama Desk Awards and What’s On Stage Theatregoers Awards), Macbeth (Queen’s Theatre), Rat in the Skull (Royal Court at the Duke of York’s), Translations (Plymouth Theatre, New York – Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut), and Making It Better (Hampstead Theatre and Criterion), and Arcadia (National Theatre – Olivier Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor). He can currently be seen playing Lord Melbourne in the ITV drama Victoria, and he is filming the second series of the successful Amazon drama The Man in the High Castle (for which he received a Critics Choice Nomination for Best Supporting Actor). Rufus’s other screen work includes the feature films Gods of Egypt, Hercules, The Sea, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, The Holiday, Amazing Grace, The Illusionist, A Knight’s Tale, Illuminata, Dark City, Dangerous Beauty, The Woodlanders, Carrington, A Man of No Importance and Cold Comfort Farm; television includes Killing Jesus, Restless, Parade’s End, Zen, Pillars of the Earth, 11th Hour, John Adams, Taming of the Shrew (BAFTA TV nomination for Best Actor), Charles II, Middlemarch and Cold Comfort Farm.
Matthew Warchus is a director of theatre, opera and film who has directed award-winning productions for many of the major British theatre companies. He was an Associate Director at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and was an Artistic Associate at The Old Vic before being appointed in 2014 to succeed Kevin Spacey as Artistic Director of the theatre. Matthew’s extensive theatre credits include Groundhog Day, The Master Builder, The Caretaker and Future Conditional (The Old Vic), Matilda The Musical (RSC, West End and Broadway, 7 Olivier Awards, including Best Director and Best New Musical, and 4 Tony Awards), Ghost: The Musical and La Bête (West End and Broadway); Deathtrap (West End), The Norman Conquests (West End and Broadway, Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play), God of Carnage (West End and Broadway, Tony Award for Best Play and Best Direction of a Play), Boeing Boeing (West End, Broadway and UK tour, Tony Award for Best Revival of a play and Olivier nomination for Best Revival of a Play); Speed-the-Plow (The Old Vic); the theatrical adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (also co-writer, West End), Buried Child (National Theatre), Endgame (Albery Theatre), Our House (Cambridge Theatre, Olivier Award for Best Musical), Follies (Broadway), Life x 3, (National Theatre, The Old Vic and Broadway), True West (Donmar Warehouse and Broadway, Tony nominations for Best Director and Best Play), The Unexpected Man (RSC, West End and Broadway), Art (Broadway, West End, Los Angeles, Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Play), Hamlet and Henry V (RSC), Volpone (National Theatre, Evening Standard Award for Best Director), Much Ado About Nothing (West End), Betrayal, Death of a Salesman, The Plough Beyond the Stars, Fiddler on the Roof and Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf (West Yorkshire Playhouse). Opera credits include Falstaff and Così Fan Tutte (ENO) and The Rake’s Progress (ROH and WNO). Matthew directed feature films Pride (2014, BIFA Best British Independent Film, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated) and Simpatico (1999).
Christopher Hampton became involved in theatre while studying French and German at Oxford University. A play he wrote in his first year transferred from the Royal Court to the Comedy Theatre, making him the youngest writer ever to have a play performed in the West End. He is a multi-award winning writer for theatre, television and film whose plays and musicals have garnered four Tony Awards, three Olivier Awards, five Evening Standard Awards and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. Works for the stage include The Talking Cure, White Chameleon, Tales From Hollywood, Treats, Savages, The Philanthropist, Total Eclipse and When Did You Last See My Mother?; with Don Black the musicals Sunset Boulevard, Dracula: The Musical and Stephen Ward; libretti for Waiting for the Barbarians, Appomattox and The Trial, all by Philip Glass, adaptations Youth Without God, Embers and Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and many translations of works by Chekhov, Ibsen, Molière, Horváth, Yasmina Reza and Florian Zeller. Screenplays include Ali and Nino (2016), Adore (2013, based on The Grandmothers), A Dangerous Method (2011, based on his play The Talking Cure), Chéri (2009), Atonement (2007), Imagining Argentina (also directed, 2003), The Quiet American (2002), The Secret Agent (also directed, 1996), Mary Reilly (1996), Total Eclipse (1995), Carrington (also directed, 1995), Dangerous Liaisons (1988), The Good Father (1985), The Honorary Consul (1983), Tales from the Vienna Woods (1979) and A Doll’s House (1973). His television scripts include mini-series The Ginger Tree, Hôtel du Lac, The History Man, Able’s Will and, most recently, The Thirteenth Tale.
Yasmina Reza’s plays have been adapted in over 35 languages and performed throughout the world. Her plays Art and God of Carnage won both the Olivier and Tony Awards, and the latter was adapted for film by Roman Polanski as Carnage (2011, César for Best Scenario). In 2010 she directed her first film, Chicas. Plays include Conversations après un enterrement (Conversations after a burial), La Traversée de l’hiver (Winter Crossing), L’Homme du Hasard (The Unexpected Man), Trois versions de la vie (Life x 3), Une pièce espagnole (A Spanish play). She has also published a number of books which have been translated in many countries: Bella Figura, Comment vous racontez la partie (How you talk the game), Heureux les heureux (Happy are the happy, Winner of Le Monde’s Prix littéraire), Hammerklavier, Une Désolation (Desolation), Adam Haberberg, Dans la luge d’Arthur Schopenhauer (On Arthus Schopenhauer’s Sledge), Nulle part (Nowhere) and L’aube le soir ou la nuit (Dawn Dusk or Night).