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Garrick Theatre

  • Theatre
  • Charing Cross Road
Garrick Theatre

Time Out says

Victorian theatre named after the great David Garrick

Named after the legendary stage actor David Garrick (who died a good 110 years before it was built), the Grade II-listed Garrick Theatre is a little on the shabby side these days but, nonethless, one of London’s most storied and versatile theatres. Playwright W.S. Gilbert, of 'and Sullivan' fame, used the proceeds from his wildly successful comic operas to put up the money for this playhouse in 1889. It didn't have the easiest start to life, after an underground river was discovered wending its way through the chosen site. But once it finally opened, it made Victorian audiences chortle with comedies like Arthur Wing Pinero’s now-forgotten 1895 hit ‘The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith’.

During the 20th century, the Garrick Theatre survived two attempts to demolish it: first in 1934, when architects schemed to rebuild it as a 'Super Cinema', and then in 1968, when a campaign by Save London Theatres kept it in use. And it's a good thing they did. After spending the war years in the doldrums, the Garrick hosted hits galore, including Joan Littlewood's seminal satirical musical ‘Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be’ and Brian Rix's bawdy farces in the '60s and long-running comedy 'No Sex Please, We're British' in the '80s. Today, it mostly hosts musicals, including the likes of 'Let it Be' and 'Young Frankenstein'. 

Garrick Theatre's interior is a well-preserved example of late Victorian theatre design, with its elegant curved balconies decorated in white with delicate gilt Classical-inspired friezes. It's got 718 seats on three levels, meaning you'll get a better view of the action than at most West End venues.


Charing Cross Road
Rail/Tube: Charing Cross; Tube: Leicester Square/Embankment
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What’s on

Eddie Izzard: Great Expectations

  • Comedy

Dyslexic comedy icon Eddie Izzard had read very few great works of literature, but having made herself read ‘Great Expectations’ a few years – in part because of the discovery Charles Dickens was exactly 150 years older than her – the serial marathon runner’s imagination was fired up, and she came up with the idea of a one-woman solo adaptation. And now here it is, adapted by her brother Mark, with Eddie playing 19 of the book's characters. Although it’s popped up around London before in work-in-progress form, it actually debuted to warm notices in New York last year. Now it’s back on Dickens’s home turf and you can see why she wanted to get it right: no matter how many laughs Izzard milks it for – and we’re assuming quite a few – it’s being billed as an earnest endeavor, not just a Dicken parody.  

The Crown Jewels

  • Comedy

This new comedy from ‘Men Behaving Badly’ scribe Simon Nye has an intriguing premise: it’s based on a true-life historical incident wherein disgruntled Anglo-Irish army officer Colonel Thomas Blood hatched an audacious and very nearly successful plan to steal the Crown Jewels from King Charles II. It’s certainly a fascinating caper, though it’ll be intriguing to see if Nye’s play – directed by stage comedy stalwart Sean Foley – can escape the extremely long historical sitcom shadow of ‘Blackadder’, and to a lesser extent David Mitchell”s ‘Upstart Crow’ (Foley directed the stage version). Whatever the case, they’ve assembled a crack comedy cast, with Al Murray as Charles II, plus Mel Giedroyc, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Aidan McArdle, Neil Morrissey Joe Thomas and Tanvi Virmani tackling the Restoration larks.


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An RSC stage version of Maggie O’Farrell’s bestselling novel ‘Hamnet’ was clearly always going to end up in the West End, and as it happens Lolita Chakrabarti’s adaptation has announced that it’s playing a limited 14-week West End run before its long-sold-out Stratford-upon-Avon run has even started. The novel is both an imagining of the life and untimely death of William Shakespeare’s son Hamnet, as seen through the eyes of his mother Agnes – more commonly called Anne – and the story of Shakespeare and Agnes’s relationship, from meeting until the premiere of the greatest play ever written, named after their son. Madeleine Mantock will star as Agnes in a production directed by Erica Whyman.

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