Kit Harington will star in the West End transfer of incendiary Broadway smash ‘Slave Play’

Jeremy O Harris’s wildly provocative drama is the most Tony-nominated play of all time

Andrzej Lukowski
Written by
Andrzej Lukowski
Theatre & Dance Editor, UK
Slave Play (Broadway)
Photograph: Courtesy Matthew Murphy

Playwright, actor and general provocateur Jeremy O Harris has already made some inroads into the UK thanks to the well-received 2022 Almeida run of his second play ‘“Daddy”’ and his turn as Grégory Elliot Duprée in ‘Emily in Paris’. 

Really, though, this is all just a warm-up for the inevitable arrival of his big hit. ‘Slave Play’ (pictured) first opened on Broadway in 2019 and went on to become the most Tony-nominated play of all time, ratcheting up 12 nominations.

It didn’t win any of them, mind, and here’s where we get to the controversial bit: basically, ‘Slave Play’ is very controversial, being about a trio of interracial couples in which the Black partner is no longer attracted to the white one. All of them have signed up for something called ‘Antebellum Sexual Performance Therapy’, in which the couple plays out sexual roleplays based around masters and slaves in the Antebellum South. 

It is precisely as outrageous as that sounds and has seen Harris lionised and vilified in equal measure. That it’s taken so long to arrive in London is probably down to a mix of Covid delays, the fact it’s clearly a hot potato at the best of times, and perhaps the need for a big name to sell it to the British public if it’s going to go straight into the West End.

Kit Harington, 2024
Photo: Empire Street Productions

And now it’s got one. Robert O’Hara’s transferring production will enjoy the best of both worlds, with ‘Game of Thrones’ star Kit Harington the biggest name in the ensemble. Him and fellow newcomers Fisayo Akinade, Aaron Heffernan and Olivia Washington will star alongside half of the show’s acclaimed original cast in the form of James Cusati-Moyer, Chalia La Tour, Annie McNamara and Irene Sofia Lucio.

Expect it to be a massive talking point during its relatively brief London run – as well as the usual ticketing there will be various accessible options, including tickets for as little as £1 released every Wednesday morning, plus two Black Out nights (Jul 17 and Sep 17) for Black-identifying audience members only (a practice and name pioneered with the 2019 run of the show).

‘Slave Play’ runs at the Noël Coward Theatre Jun 29-Sep 21. Tickets go on sale Feb 28 at noon from here.

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