The Life I Lead

Wyndham's Theatre
Charing Cross Road, London

Opens: 16 September 2019
Closes: 21 September 2019

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Nearest Tube: Leicester Square

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Theatre seating plan

Show times
Monday at 7.30pm
Tuesday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 7.30pm
Thursday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday no shows

Runs ? hours and ? minutes

Seat prices
£? to £?
(plus booking fees if applicable)

The Life I Lead

For eight performances only - James Kettle's play The Life I Lead in London starring Miles Jupp

Miles Jupp brings the remarkable story of the actor David Tomlinson to life on stage in this one-man play by James Kettle.

David Tomlinson is best remembered for playing the role of 'Mr Banks' in Disney’s classic film Mary Poppins - where he had the song The Life I Lead. David Tomlinson was known for playing the classic English gent - forthright, proper, and a loveable fool. Off-screen his incredible life was full of adventure and heartbreak - the man who portrayed one of cinema’s most famous patriarchs was defined by his relationship with his own father – a remote eccentric, who was hiding an extraordinary tragicomic secret. Now this new play promises to fill in the blanks behind a very well-known face in a richly comic and moving tale of fathers and sons across the generations.

This production comes into London's West End for a strictly limited run of just eight performances, following an acclaimed UK regional tour earlier this year.

The cast in this 'one-man show' features Miles Jupp. Directed by Didi Hopkins and Selina Cadell, with designs by Lee Newby, and lighting by Matthew Eagland.

When this production was seen on tour in March 2019, Luke Jones in the Daily Mail wrote that "Miles Jupp nails that gorgeous, clipped voice: stern patriarch melting into warm silliness. James Kettle has created an engaging evening of entrancing anecdote. It's got beautiful jokes , celebrates and examines a complex man, and rightly mourns the slow extinction of the drawing room.... Brilliant." Dominic Maxwell in the Times said "it is, we find, a story of fathers and father figures. It's a shame that James Kettle's adroitly witty but initially meandering script takes until its second half to let us know what it's really about... Miles Jupp nails his man's mixture of languor and seize-the-day jollity, and shifts tone beautifully for the knottier emotional moments... This show eventually lets us in on its wit, heart and emotional intelligence." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard described it as being "a show bathed in nostalgia and whimsy. Yet it's also astute about evasion and repression... though it's often charming, the persistent emphasis on gently amusing anecdotes means the more poignant elements of David Tomlinson's story don't have quite enough room to breathe." Neil Norman in the Daily Express highlighted how, "emphasising the charm of this genteel man whose wartime courage is dismissed with self-effacement, Miles Jupp lures us in to a hairraising background story about his father's unconventional domestic arrangements as well as David Tomlinson's brushes with tragedy."

Miles Jupp's London theatre credits include the role of 'Angus' in Angus Jackson's revival of Tim Firth's comedy Neville's Island at the Duke of York's Theatre in 2014; and the role of 'Lemon' in Edward Hall's production of Mark Ravenhill's pantomine Dick Whittington and His Cat at the Barbican Theatre in 2006.

"The most enjoyable and accomplished production of the week is the most modest as Miles Jupp performs James Kettle's one-man play about actor David Tomlinson.... Walt Disney saw Tomlinson as the epitome of the bumbling, buttoned-up Englishman but Kettle and Jupp reveal him to be far more, his modesty and reticence concealing a well of feeling... Jupp charts the highs and lows of a life that moves from wartime heroics and Hollywood success to his first wife's suicide and son's autism with a lightness of touch and great charm." The Sunday Express

"David Tomlinson's own life was also more disordered beneath the calm, genial persona he exuded as an actor, and not without considerable personal trauma. Not least his relationship with his father, a cantankerous and distant man obsessed with Napoleon, who Tomlinson discovered later in life was living a double life with another family and sired seven children - and that his mother knew all along... All credit to James Kettle's adroit handling of this sadder material, which is never mawkish, and is subtly blended like a spoonful of sugar with a comic account of Tomlinson's years as a jobbing actor in pretty minor plays and films... As the man himself, Miles Jupp presents us with a thoroughly decent man who never took anything too seriously and delivers the many witty anecdotes with, unsurprisingly for a comic, spoton timing and a winning charm that the affable Tomlinson himself would have admired." The Mail on Sunday

David Tomlinson The Life I Lead with Miles Jupp in London at the Wyndham's Theatre opens on 16 September 2019, and closes on 21 September 2019