The Unfriend - Criterion Theatre London

The Unfriend Tickets

Criterion Theatre, London

Manners can be murder in middle class Britain

Direct from Chichester Festival Theatre, The Unfriend is a satirical look at middle-class England’s disastrous instinct to always appear nice. Written by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who, Sherlock) and directed by Mark Gatiss (The League of Gentleman, Sherlock) this hilarious new comedy will open in London’s West End in January 2023 for a strictly limited 12-week season.

The Unfriend is booking from 15 January 2023 until 16 April 2023 at the Criterion Theatre in London.

What is The Unfriend about?

After twenty years of marriage, Peter and Debbie are enjoying a cruise as a break from their annoying teenagers. Peter can’t resist exchanging views on Donald Trump with an American fellow passenger. There’s something slightly unsettling about the eagerly friendly Elsa Jean Krakowski – but there’s no point in rocking the boat when you’re about to get off it.

Back home, an email arrives from Elsa, followed by Elsa herself. And when Debbie googles their house guest and turns up some hair-raising evidence, their good nature is challenged as never before. What kind of danger have they allowed to take up residence in their spare room? And can they bring themselves to say anything about it? Sometimes, the truth is just too impolite.

The Unfriend takes a hugely entertaining and satirical look at middle-class England’s disastrous instinct always to appear nice.

Who is in the cast of The Unfriend?

The London cast of The Unfriend is to be announced.

The Chichester Festival Theatre cast featured Reece Shearsmith, Amanda Abbington, Frances Barber, Gabriel Howell, Maddie Holliday, Michael Simkins and Marcus Onilude.

Creative team

The Unfriend is written by Steven Moffat with direction by Mark Gatiss, design by Robert Jones, lighting by Mark Henderson, sound by Ella Wahlström and casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG.


Reviews of The Unfriend

★★★★ "Effortlessly entertaining" - The Telegraph
★★★★ "A hilarious dark comedy of good manners" - The Stage
★★★★ "Cringe-tastic" - The Guardian

Read more reviews


Show Information

Age restrictions
14+
Running time
2 hours (including interval)
Performance dates
15 January 2023 - 16 April 2023
Performance days
Evenings: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Matinees: Thursday, Saturday, Sunday

Show Photos


Venue Information

Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly Circus, London, SW1Y 4XA
Nearest Tube or Train: Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly line, Bakerloo line)
Nearest Buses: 3, 6, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 22, 23, 38, 88, 94, 139, 159, 453
Directions:
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Ticket Information

Official London Theatre tickets for The Unfriend at the Criterion Theatre, London

Book tickets to The Unfriend at the Criterion Theatre with WestEndTheatre.com. You will be purchasing official London theatre tickets from an authorised retailer and member of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers. The Unfriend booking calendar and seating plan


News about The Unfriend
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The Unfriend ">
The Unfriend transfers to the Criterion Theatre starring Reece Shearsmith
Chichester Festival Theatre's production of The Unfriend is heading to the West End. The show is hitting the Criterion Theatre for a 12 week run from 15 January to 16 April 2023. The Unfriend is written by acclaimed TV writer Steven Moffat (Doctor Who, Sherlock), and brings together The League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss as director and Reece Shearsmith as star. Gatiss is making is West End theatre directorial debut with the show. Shearsmith returns to the play following the Chichester run, alongside his existing co-stars Frances Barber and Amanda Abbington. The play got solid reviews when it opened in Chichester in June 2022, with the Guardian giving it four stars and calling it a "cringe-tastic" evening. The Unfriend show follows middle class couple Peter (Shearmith) and Debbie (Abbington), who meet an overly friendly American called Elsie (Barber), on a cruise. Back home, and with barely any warning Elsie turns up – and a quick internet search means Elsie is more than she appears. Writer Steven Moffat said in a statement: “I am beyond thrilled that The Unfriend is going to the West End. Working on this show with my old friend, Mark, and my new friends, the amazing cast and crew, has been one of the happiest experiences of my professional life. They’ve all been very kind to a beginner.” Director Mark Gatiss said: “I’m absolutely chuffed to be bringing The Unfriend to the Criterion after a joyous time in Chichester. What we all need now is a really good laugh and Steven’s gloriously naughty play brings that in spades.” Book The Unfriend tickets at the Criterion Theatre in London
Amanda Abbington & Reece Shearsmith ">
The Unfriend – first look starring Amanda Abbington, Frances Barber and Reece Shearsmith
Production images have been released of The Unfriend at Chichester Festival Theatre starring Amanda Abbington, Frances Barber and Reece Shearsmith. Written by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who, Sherlock, Dracula) and directed by Mark Gatiss, The Unfriend is an amusing and satirical take on middle-class England's instinct to always appear nice. The show follows middle class couple Peter and Debbie, played by Shearmith and Abbington, who meet an overly friendly American called Elsie, played by Barber, on a cruise. Back home, and with barely any warning up turns Elsie - a quick internet search and Elsie is more than who she appears. Can Peter and Debbie bring themselves to say anything? Reece Shearsmith, known for The League of Gentlemen tv series, was last seen at Chichester in The Dresser, Reece’s recent work also includes Hangmen (Royal Court) and TV’s Inside No 9. Amanda Abbington, whose credits include TV’s Sherlock and Mr Selfridge, and The Son in the West End, makes her Chichester debut as Debbie. Frances Barber, last seen at Chichester in Uncle Vanya (1996); her extensive screen work includes The Mezzotint, Silk and Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. The cast is completed by Gabriel Howell, Maddie Holliday, Michael Simkins and Marcus Onilude The Unfriend runs until 9 July 2022 in the Minerva Theatre at Chichester Festival Theatre. [ngg src="galleries" ids="808" display="pro_tile"] Photos by Manuel Harlan.
The Unfriend - Chichester Festival Theatre">
The Unfriend announces Chichester dates starring Reece Shearsmith, Amanda Abbington, Frances Barber
Sherlock and Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat's new play The Unfriend finally has production dates! Originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed due to Covid, The Unfriend will run at Chichester Festival Theatre from 21 May to 9 July 2022. Directed by The League of Gentleman's Mark Gatiss, the new play stars Amanda Abbington, Frances Barber and Reece Shearsmith. Other cast include Maddie Holliday and Michael Simkins. The play centres on Peter (Reece Shearsmith) and Debbie (Amanda Abbington), who after twenty years of marriage are enjoying a cruise as a break from their annoying teenage children. Peter can’t resist exchanging views on Donald Trump with an American fellow passenger, Elsa Jean Krakowski (Frances Barber). There’s something slightly unsettling about the eagerly friendly Elsa, but there’s no point in rocking the boat when you’re about to get off it. Back home, an email arrives from Elsa, followed by Elsa herself. And when Debbie googles their house guest and turns up some hair-raising evidence, their good nature is challenged as never before. What kind of danger have they allowed to take up residence in their spare room? And can they bring themselves to say anything about it? Sometimes, the truth is just too impolite. The Unfriend promises to be an entertaining and satirical look at middle-class England’s disastrous instinct always to appear nice. Manners can be murder.... Steven Moffat is an award-winning writer, whose hit television series include Doctor Who, Sherlock and Dracula – the latter two co-written with the actor and writer Mark Gatiss, who directs. Mark Gatiss is also a member of the sketch comedy team The League of Gentlemen alongside Reece Shearsmith, who plays Peter. Reece Shearsmith was aast seen at Chichester in The Dresser, and his credits also include Hangmen (Royal Court) and TV’s Inside No 9. Amanda Abbington's credits include TV’s Sherlock and Mr Selfridge, and The Son in the West End. Frances Barber was last seen at Chichester in Uncle Vanya (1996). Her screen credits include The Mezzotint, Silk and Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. The Unfriend is designed by Robert Jones, with lighting by Mark Henderson, sound by Ella Wahlström and casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG. Steven Moffat posted on Twitter in 2020, "Sorry to those of you who booked, but that's The Unfriend delayed till next year – we'll put an extra joke in it to make it worth the wait!" Chichester has also announced a huge slate of new shows for 2022 as part of their 60th anniversary season including a new production of Crazy For You directed by Susan Stroman, and musicals including The Famous Five: The Musical and Local Hero. Read more about the new season.

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