The Iceman Cometh

Play by Eugene O'Neill.

1958: West End London Premiere with Ian Bannen

1976: 1st West End London Revival with Alan Tilvern

1980: London revival with Jack Shepherd

1998: 2nd West End London Revival with Kevin Spacey

Eugene O'Neill's plays seen in London include A Moon for the Misbegotten, The Hairy Ape, Long Day's Journey Into Night, and Mourning Becomes Electra.


1958: West End London Premiere with Ian Bannen

Opened 29 January 1958 (no previews), Closed 23 March 1958 at the Arts Theatre
Transferred 29 March 1958, Closed 10 May 1958 at the Winter Garden Theatre

The original cast at London's Arts Theatre and the West End's Winter Garden featured Ian Bannen as 'Theodore Hickman (Hickey)', Jack MacGowran as 'Harry Hope', Patrick Magee as 'Larry Slade', Vivian Matalon as 'Don Parritt', Anthony Jacobs as 'Ed Mosher', Hilda Braid as 'Pearl', Joby Blanshard as 'Piet Wetjoen', Lee Montague as 'Rocky Pioggi', Margaret Whiting as 'Cora', Michael Balfour as 'Chuck Morello' (Arts), Wolfe Morris as 'Chuck Morello' (Winter Garden), Michael Bryant as 'Willie Oban', Michael Genesi as 'Lieb', Nicholas Meredith as 'Cecil Lewis', Prunella Scales as 'Margie', Robert Adams as 'Joe Mott', Robert Hunter as 'Pat McGloin' (Arts), Gordon Costello as 'Pat McGloin' (Winter Garden), Toby Robertson as 'James Cameron (Jimmy Tomorrow)', Tony Burley as 'Moran', and Tony Church as 'Hugo Kalmar'.

Directed by Peter Wood, with designs by Hutchinson Scott.


1976: 1st West End London Revival with Alan Tilvern

Previewed 20 May 1976, Opened 25 May 1976, Closed 11 August 1976 (in repertory) at the Aldwych Theatre

The cast featured Alan Tilvern as 'Theodore Hickman (Hickey)', Norman Rodway as 'Harry Hope', Patrick Stewart as 'Larry Slade', Kenneth Cranham as 'Don Parritt', Bob Hoskins as 'Rocky Pioggi', Cy Grant as 'Joe Mott', David Daker as 'Chuck Morello', Gary Bond as 'Willie Oban', Hal Galili as 'Piet Wetjoen', Harry Towb as 'Ed Mosher', John Warner as 'James Cameron (Jimmy Tomorrow)', Karl Held as 'Lieb', Larry Hoodekoff as 'Moran', Lynda Marchal as 'Cora', Paola Dionisotti as 'Margie', Patrick Godfrey as 'Hugo Kalmar', Patti Love as 'Pearl', Raymond Marlowe as 'Pat McGloin', and Richard Simpson as 'Cecil Lewis'.

Directed by Howard Davies, with designs by Chris Dyer, lighting by David Hersey, and sound by Anna Cooke.

Ian Holm originally scheduled to play the role of 'Theodore Hickman', and performed in the first two previews, but unfortunately he then suffered severe stage fright which forced him to withdraw from the production. Alan Tilvern, who was playing originally playing the role of 'Pat McGloin', took over the role of 'Theodore Hickman' for the rest of the run, and Raymond Marlowe joined the cast to play 'Pat McGloin'.


1980: London revival with Jack Shepherd

Previewed 26 February 1980, Opened 4 March 1980, Closed 5 April 1980 at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre

The cast featured Jack Shepherd as 'Theodore Hickman (Hickey)', J G Devlin as 'Harry Hope', Niall Toibin as 'Larry Slade', Kevin McNally as 'Don Parritt', Ann Lynn as 'Pearl', Brian Glover as 'Pat McGloin', Brian Protheroe as 'Chuck Morello', Derek Newark as 'Ed Mosher', Edna Dore as 'Margie', Elliott Cooper as 'Lieb', Frederick Treves as 'Cecil Lewis', Gawn Grainger as 'James Cameron (Jimmy Tomorrow)', James Grant as 'Willie Oban', Jeffrey Chiswick as 'Piet Wetjoen', John Salthouse as 'Rocky Poggi', John Tams as 'Moran', Morag Hood as 'Cora', Oscar James as 'Joe Mott', and Tony Haygarth as 'Huge Kalmar'.

Directed by Bill Bryden, with designs by Hayden Griffin, lighting by Andrew Phillips, and sound by Chris Jordan.


1998: 2nd West End London Revival with Kevin Spacey

Previewed 2 April 1998, Opened 14 April 1998, Closed 23 May 1998 at the Almeida Theatre
Transferred 19 June 1998, Closed 1 August 1998 at the Old Vic Theatre

A major revival of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh in London starring Kevin Spacey

The cast at London's Almeida Theatre and the West End's Old Vic Theatre featured Kevin Spacey as 'Theodore Hickman (Hickey)', James Hazeldine as 'Harry Hope', Tim Pigott-Smith as 'Larry Slade', Rupert Graves as 'Don Parritt' (Almeida), Ben Walden as 'Don Parritt' (Old Vic), Clarke Peters as 'Joe Mott' (Almeida), Rudolph Walker as 'Joe Mott' (Old Vic), Duncan Bell as 'Willie Oban', Emily Morgan as 'Cora', Holly Aird as 'Pearl' (Almeida), Elli Garnett as 'Pearl' (Old Vic), Ian Bartholomew as 'James Cameron (Jimmy Tomorrow)', John Rogan as 'Pat McGloin', Lisa Palfrey as 'Margie', Mark Strong as 'Rocky Pioggi' (Almeida), Martin Marquez as 'Rocky Pioggi' (Old Vic), Nicholas Day as 'Piet Wetjoen', Nigel Cooke as 'Hugo Kalmar', Owen Oakeshott as 'Lieb', Patrick Godfrey as 'Cecil Lewis', Robert Pugh as 'Chuck Morello' (Almeida), Trevor Cooper as 'Chuck Morello' (Old Vic), Roger Sloman as 'Ed Mosher', Tony Guilfoyle as 'Moran' (Almeida), and Benny Young as 'Moran' (Old Vic).

Directed by Howard Davies, with designs by Bob Crowley, lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Paddy Cunneen, and sound by John A Leonard.

Tim Pigott-Smith's London theatre credits include the roles of 'the Earl of Leicester' in Howard Davies' revival of Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in 1996; 'Howard Joyce' in Neil Bartlett's revival of William Somerset Maugham's The Letter at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith in 1995; 'Trinculo' in Peter Hall's revival of William Shakespeare's The Tempest at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre and Olivier Theatre in 1988; 'Octavius Caesar' in Peter Hall's revival of William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre in 1987; and 'Colin' in Michael Blakemore's production of Michael Frayn's Benefactors at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1984.

Ben Walden's London theatre credits include the roles of 'Tom Wingfield' in Sam Mendes' revival of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie at the Comedy Theatre in 1995; 'Mr Charles Sratton' in Peter Hall's revival of Terence Rattigan's Separate Tables at the Albery Theatre in 1993; and 'Hal' in Peter James' revival of Joe Orton's Loot at the Lyric Hammersmith in 1992.

"Kevin Spacey is stunningly good in the key role of Hickey, backed by some of the finest ensemble acting on the London stage (only The Weir - also set in a down-at-heel bar - can match it)... And though O'Neill's technique is all over the place, and some of the dialogue is atrociously leaden, it is astonishing how little any of this matters... Spacey superbly captures Hickey's born-again vitality, his spiels combining the glib fluency of the salesman with the fervour of the preacher's son... Spacey achieves an astonishing depth of self-flagellating emotion, and the single line when his own comforting pipe dream finally cracks is breathtaking in its intensity... It is an unforgettable night which confirms Howard Davies as a director with an extraordinary gift for combining the intimate and the epic, the funny and the piercingly sad." The Daily Telegraph

"There's nothing quite like getting up close and personal with a true Hollywood star. And it is certainly worth the four-hour marathon to fall under the mesmeric spell of Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey. Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh is one of the great doorstops of American theatre and Spacey electrifies a work which could so easily fail... Tim Pigott-Smith is a highlight as a philosopher worn away with cynicism and Ian Bartholemew's alcoholic hack Jimmy Tomorrow is a joy. You are an hour into the play when Spacey - reformed boozer John Hickey - explodes into the bar. He's a fizzing, fast-talking bundle of energy who's selling the reality of life to the hardest consumer base imaginable... Yes, the speeches are very wordy but the sheer conviction of Spacey's coruscating performance takes your breath away." The Daily Mirror

"For a celebrated ensemble piece that requires a cast of 19 actors, Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh certainly knows how to behave like a star vehicle... Kevin Spacey is enormously watchable as Hickey. All controlling, calculating bonhomie, his fast-talking salesman has more than a touch of the modern games show host about him. He's so sincere-sounding, he's genuinely managed to fool himself and as he passes amongst the barflies, kneeling down to them or massaging their shoulders, there's a hollowness and a pseudo-holiness in the contact that suggests this Hickey could give any Oprah-clone a run for his money... Spacey is backed up by a crack cast, but The Iceman Cometh is to a true ensemble piece... Sitting through the four-and-a-quarter hours of this production, you may find yourself asking why, if one drunk is axiomatically a bore, the company of over a dozen should be considered an epic experience." The Independent

The Iceman Cometh in London at the Old Vic Theatre opened on 19 June 1998, and closed on 1 August 1998