About The Inheritance Part 1

Noel Coward Theatre, London
Booking to 19 January 2019
No longer booking

The West End premiere of The Inheritance at the Noel Coward Theatre.

Following a sell-out run at The Young Vic Theatre, Matthew Lopez’s ‘extraordinary and epic’ (Sunday Times) new two-part play, The Inheritance will play a limited season in London’s West End.

Spanning generations and many interlinking lives, The Inheritance is ‘an exquisitely truthful and funny modern classic’ (Telegraph) that brilliantly transposes EM Forster’s novel ‘Howards End’ to 21st century New York.

Exploring profound themes through the turbulent and often hilarious experiences of a group of young, ambitious New Yorkers. What is the legacy left to them by previous generations? What do they owe the future and each other?

Multi Olivier Award winner Stephen Daldry directs a large ensemble cast, including John Benjamin Hickey, Andrew Burnap, Paul Hilton, Samuel H. Levine, Kyle Soller and Vanessa Redgrave.

Playing across two parts, which can be seen either in one day or across two evenings.

Book tickets to The Inheritance: Part 2

The Inheritance Parts 1 & 2 is booking from 21 September 2018 until 19 January 2019 at the Noel Coward Theatre, London.


A generation after the peak of the AIDs crisis, what is it like to be a young gay man in New York? How many words are there now for pain and for love?

Matthew Lopez’s major new two-part play explores profound themes through the turbulent and often hilarious experiences of a group of young, ambitious New Yorkers.

What is the legacy left to them by previous generations? What do they owe the future and each other?


The ensemble cast includes Hugo Bolton, Robert Boulter, Andrew Burnap, Hubert Burton, John Benjamin Hickey, Paul Hilton, Samuel H. Levine, Syrus Lowe, Michael Marcus, Jack Riddiford, Kyle Soller and Michael Walters.


Directed by Stephen Daldry with set and costumes by Bob Crowley, lighting by Jon Clark, sound by Paul Arditti & Chris Reid, music by Paul Englishby.


★★★★★ “Witty Outrageous and Piercingly Vivid.” Evening Standard
★★★★★ “An extraordinary epic event” Sunday Times
★★★★★ “A modern classic” Telegraph

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Show Information

Performance dates
Booking to 19 January 2019

Important Notes

Audio Described Performance: Part 1: 22nd November 2018 Part 2: 23rd November 2018 Captioned Performance: Part 1: 8th November 2018 Part 2: 9th November 2018

Venue Information

Noel Coward Theatre, St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4AA
Nearest Tube or Train: Leicester Square (Northern line, Piccadilly line)
Nearest Buses: 24, 29, 176

News about The Inheritance Part 1

The Inheritance – review round-up
The Inheritance – review round-up
A review round-up for The Inheritance at the Young Vic Theatre. Matthew Lopez’s (The Whipping Man, The Newsroom) epic two part New York gay-life play, has opened at London’s Young Vic Theatre. Inspired by E. M. Forster’s novel Howards End, this panoramic account of male gay life whirls through marriages, breakups, betrayals, highs and lows in present-day New York, but also looks back to closeted existences and the threats – social, physical and psychological – visited by Aids. Directed by Stephen Daldry (The Jungle, An Inspector Calls, Billy Elliot, The Hours and The Reader) The Inheritance is winning rave reviews from critics for its exploration of gay life, but also its cast which includes Andrew Burnap, John Benjamin Hickey, Samuel H. Levine, Kyle Soller and Vanessa Redgrave. At seven hours, seen on one day or on separate days, it's long but definitely one to catch. Read a round-up of reviews below. The Observer, ★★★★ ”Matthew Lopez’s seven-hour, Forster-inspired epic of New York gay life rewards patience.” The length of The Inheritance is not just a challenge to prostates and concentration: it’s a declaration. Stephen Daldry’s production is masterly, spiced with mischief and teeming with incident, even before anyone has spoken a word. There is an imposing appearance by Vanessa Redgrave, got up in green like an ancient goddess, the only woman in the play. It is one of the witticisms of the production that she is herself a legacy – from the 1992 movie of Howards End. Inheritance is embodied as well as explained.” Susannah Clapp, The Observer The Independent, ★★★★ ”Extraordinarily accomplished acting. There are many different tones in the play which the production (lit with poetic depth by Jon Clark) captures beautifully. The haunting welcome – both matter-of-fact and wondrous – that Eric receives when he first visits the house takes you to a realm beyond tears. There are vivid, caustic debates over, say, Henry’s contention that the response of gay men to the Aids crisis was a classic case of conservatism in action. The acting of the American-British cast is extraordinarily accomplished. Samuel H Levine flips arrestingly between rising thesp Adam and his foundering lookalike, the rent boy Leo, whose desperation is indelible. For my taste, there was bit too much of EM Forster who wanders in and out as mentor to these modern boys and dispenser of much sage advice about the transmission of history and need to be open to heartache. There is a character in the piece called Tucker who describes a “faux artist” because although his works are proficient, he deliberately doesn’t mean them. Can you, I wonder, mean your art too much? There was the odd cloying moment in the Forster sections that gave me pause. However Paul Hilton (who doubles as EM Forster and Walter) could not be more moving in his humane, modest encouragement. His performance is one of the triumphs in an event much to be recommended.” Paul Taylor, The Independent The Telegraph, ★★★★★ ”Perhaps the most important American play of the century so far. To watch The Inheritance is to pass from engaged but detached interest into a realm of total absorption before arriving at a state of emotionally shattered but elated awe. The performances are (to a man in this almost all-male affair_ exquisitely truthful – doubly so from Samuel H Levine as the contrastingly preyed-upon Adam and Leo. Part One ends with the heart-rending sight of young men in their prime – the ghosts of those who died after contracting Aids – clustering in silent amity around Eric. Part Two holds back Redgrave’s achingly frail appearance like a final release yet shows this silver-haired mother, still mourning the gay son she spurned and saw dying (“his voice no more than a croak”), as having found almost none herself. Star ratings are almost beside the point when confronted by work of this magnitude but hell, yeah, five.” Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph Financial Times [paywall], ★★ “Matthew Lopez’s sprawling work about the contemporary American gay community has little of any substance to say. It’s an impressive piece of work, but almost completely empty. Stephen Daldry marshals the cast with detail and sensitivity, led by Kyle Soller in fine form as Eric Glass, the man cheated out of the legacy of the house which (like Forster’s Howards End) symbolises hope and compassion throughout the tale. All in all, though, this is far too much time spent saying far too little of any substance. David Lan’s just-ended artistic directorship of the Young Vic was magnificent in all kinds of ways, but this piece of legacy programming threatens to conclude his time here on a down beat.” Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times Evening Standard,★★★★★ “Matthew Lopez’s witty, frequently outrageous and deeply moving play has a startling ambition. The Inheritance has a bruising seriousness and salty charisma that are very much its own. A big-hearted tribute to the power of storytelling, it’s also the sort of play that invites you to think afresh about what it means to lead a purposeful life.” Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard Daily Mail, ★★★★ ”Seven hours! But with its soap-opera plot and some phenomenally good acting, the show whizzes along. The Inheritance has its failings. It is ludicrously long and many minor characters are interchangeable off-the-peg, high-grade, hyperventilating East Coast wiseacres. The ups and downs of the story are hard to believe, as is the plot device of Toby falling for a rent boy who looks identical to Adam. There is also a problem with extended, explicit sexual content. A certain amount may be justifiable to portray the hedonism of these characters but after a short while it becomes tittery, ostentatious, pornographic.” Quentin Letts, Daily Mail Time Out, ★★★★ “Stephen Daldry directs this gripping, glib and often brilliant two-parter about New York's post-Aids gay generation.” ‘The Inheritance’ is a flawed and messy play in many respects. But it is, nonetheless, a pretty monumental achievement. A reasonably faithful, albeit wantonly postmodern, adaptation of EM Forster’s ‘Howards End’. The Inheritance’ is a cracking story, enjoyably (re)told, and in many ways the metatextual stuff is less there to fuck with our heads, more thrown in for a knowing chuckle. Despite being very long, it’s a jolly good watch. And yet Lopez does pull something transcendent out of the bag, a vision of a long, sad tragedy, of an inheritance lost, but also a firm belief that we can learn from what remains.” Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out The Inheritance is booking until 19 May at the Young Vic, London

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