Dickens mash-up Bleak Expectations to play the West End’s Criterion Theatre

Hilarious Charles Dickens mash-up Bleak Expectations is coming to London’s West End this Spring.

Written by Mark Evans and directed by Caroline Leslie, this hilarious, high-octane production is based on the hit BBC Radio 4 comedy, and first appeared at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury in 2022.

Each week a very special guest will star in the role of the narrator, Sir Philip (“Pip”) Bin – and among those confirmed so far are Tom Allen, Adjoa Andoh, Alexander Armstrong, Jo Brand, Jack Dee, Stephen Fry, Nish Kumar, Lee Mack, Stephen Mangan, Ben Miller and Sue Perkins.

A full schedule of dates for their appearances will be released soon.

Bleak Expectations follows young Pip’s extraordinary exploits with sisters Pippa and Poppy plus best friend Harry Biscuit as they attempt to escape the calculating clutches of the dastardly Mr Gently Benevolent, defeat the hideous Hardthrasher siblings, and deflect disaster at every turn!

Will evil be vanquished by virtue? Can love triumph over hate? Escape with this joyfully anarchic comedy featuring barbarous boarding schools, contemptible conspiracies, roaring romances, devilish disguises, and definitely, probably, hopefully, a happy ending!

Also in the creative team are Designer Katie Lias, Lighting Designer Andrew Exeter, Sound Designer Ella Wahlström, and Casting Director Lucy Jenkins and Sooki McShan.

Bleak Expectations will play the Criterion Theatre from 3 May 2023, to 3 September 2023.

Star Cast Quotes!

Adjoa Andoh said in a press statement: “I was excessively fond of this presentation on the wireless and cannot wait to glory in the misadventures of Pip Bin Esquire and his hapless band of acolytes. Bridgerton/Smidgerton – here is the pony for this game dame…”

Jo Brand said: “Bleak Expectations is the motto by which I have always lived my life, so delighted I can continue to live the dream.”

Jack Dee said: “I’m appearing as The Ghost of Comics Past”.

Stephen Fry said: “I’m so excited about this coming gig that I simply can’t keep any solid food down. Sounds a bit grim, but I only throw up for really prestige projects. I heaved slightly before my last appearance on the Graham Norton Show, and pacing nervously backstage at the Platinum Jubilee Party at the Palace last year I regurgitated as much as a full serving of Rice Krispies. But this Bleak Expectations guest slot already has me spewing colossal arcs of sick every morning. A really good sign.”

Nish Kumar said: “ I am as excited to do whatever this is as any human being has ever been about doing anything in the entire human species.”

Ben Miller said: “Few things, I contend, may afford an actor such pleasure as joining the cast of Bleak Expectations for a glorious week of their knicker-wettingly funny Criterion run.”

Bleak Expectations is produced in the West End by Anthology Theatre Productions, Glass Half Full Productions, Patrick Gracey, David Wolstencroft, and David Mirvish, John Yonover, Ricardo Hornos / Tomas Rottemberg, Richard Winkler / Dawn Smalberg, in association with Act Productions, TC Beech, Marianne Benton and Scott Delman / Florence Sloan.

Book tickets to Bleak Expectations at the Criterion Theatre in London

📷 Main photo: Bleak Expectations - Criterion Theatre

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