The Alchemist RSC at the Barbican

Booking to 1 October 2016
Not currently booking

In this remarkable year, celebrating 400 years of the genius of Shakespeare, we bring four diverse Royal Shakespeare Company plays to the Barbican – direct from Stratford-upon-Avon.

Following the acclaimed King & Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; this Autumn sees a pairing of works of two of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, in repertoire from 2 September 2016 until 1 October 2016.

Polly Findlay (The Merchant of Venice 2015 and Arden of Faversham 2014) directs Ben Jonson’s hilarious satire that revels in just how vain we humans can be.

The Alchemist written by one of Shakespeare’s finest contemporaries, Jonson’s savage satire revels in just how vain we humans can be.

The Alchemist runs from 2 September 2016 until 1 October 2016 at the Barbican Theatre.


When London is hit by plague, Lovewit flees to the country, leaving his townhouse in the hands of his trusted butler Jeremy. But no sooner has he left than Jeremy turns the house into a den of criminal activity, recruiting the conman Subtle and prostitute Doll Common to help him rip off half of the city.

Now every knock at the front door is another unwitting victim begging to be relieved of their cash. Things could not be going better for the gleeful trio until they receive a very unwelcome visitor. Polly Findlay, one ‘of the brightest talents in British theatre’ (Independent), directs.


Sandy Grierson (The Tempest, Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors 2012) and Oliver Ryan (As You Like It and Hamlet 2013) share the roles of Faustus and Mephistophilis.

The cast features Will Bliss, John Cummins, Ruth Everett, Gabriel Fleary, Theo Fraser Steele, Natey Jones, Richard Leeming, Mark Lockyear, Tom McCall, Joshua McCord, Siobhan McSweeney, Hywel Morgan, Ken Nwosu, Ian Redford, Rosa Robson, Tim Samuels, Timothy Speyer and Eleanor Wyld.


Directed by Polly Findlay with Design by Helen Goddard, Lighting by Charles Balfour, Music by Corin Buckeridge, Sound by Gregory Clarke, Movement by Clive Mendus and Fights by Kate Waters.


★★★★ ‘A dizzyingly frenetic, lushly textured work’ Times
★★★★ ‘Polly Findlay’s dazzlingly clear, period dress production’ Daily Telegraph
★★★★ ‘Ian Redford is outstanding as Sir Epicure Mammon’ Guardian
★★★★ ‘Jonson’s sharp skewering of human folly and greed resounds clearly 400 years on’ Evening Standard
★★★★ ‘Mark Lockyer is an intense, magnetic presence’ Stage
★★★★ ‘Fraudster farce is a real pleasure’ Financial Times
★★★★ ‘Polly Findlay has made a glowing evening… the action whizzes along’ Observer

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Show Information

Performance dates
Booking to 1 October 2016

Ticket Information

Official Theatre tickets for  The Alchemist RSC

Book tickets to The Alchemist RSC with You will be purchasing official London theatre tickets from an authorised retailer and member of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers.

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