The Pillowman

Duke of York's Theatre
St Martin's Lane, London

Public Previews: 24 July 2020
Opens: to be announced
Closes: 17 October 2020

POSTPONED 2021 dates to be announced

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The Pillowman

A major revival of Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman in London starring Steve Pemberton

A writer in a totalitarian state is interrogated about the gruesome content of his short stories and their similarities to a number of child-murders that are happening in his town.

Warning: A viciously funny, seriously disturbing tale. This play contains scenes and language that may offend and is not suitable for children.

The cast features Steve Pemberton as 'Tupolski', and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as 'Katurian'.

Directed by Matthew Dunster.

Steve Pemberton is probably best known for his role in the comedy team The League of Gentlemen along with Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, and Reece Shearsmith. His other London theatre credits include playing the roles of 'Brian' in Terry Johnson's revival of his comedy Dead Funny at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2016; and the 'Narrator' in Christopher Luscombe's revival of Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show at the Playhouse Theatre in 2006, and at the Comedy Theatre in 2007.

Martin McDonagh's other London theatre plays include Cripple of Inishmaan, The Lieutenant Of Inishmore, and Hangmen.

The Pillowman in London at the Duke of York's Theatre during 2021 - dates to be announced


Original London Production 2003

Previewed 7 November 2003, Opened 13 November 2003, Closed 17 April 2004 (in repertory) at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre (now Dorfman Theatre)

The cast featured Jim Broadbent as 'Tupolski', David Tennant as 'Katurian', Nigel Lindsay as 'Ariel', Adam Godley as 'Michal', Victoria Pembroke as 'Mother', Mike Sherman as 'Father', James Daley as 'Boy', and Jennifer Higham as 'Girl'.

Directed by John Crowley, with designs by Scott Pask, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, music Paddy Cunneen, and sound by Paul Arditti.

Nigel Lindsay's London theatre credits include playing the roles of 'Nick' in Loveday Ingram's revival of Alan Ayckborn's Bedroom Farce at the Aldwych Theatre in 2002; 'Max' in David Leveaux's revival of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing at the Donmar Warehouse in 1999, and transfer to the West End's Albery Theatre in 2000; 'John' in Patrick Marber's production of Dennis Potter's Blue Remembered Hills at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in 1996; and 'Mugsy' in Patrick Marber's prduction of his play Dealer's Choice at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre, and transfer to the West End's Vaudeville Theatre in 1995.

Adam Godley's London theatre credits include playing the roles of 'Victor Prynne' in Howard Davies' revival of Noel Coward's Private Lives at the Albery Theatre in 2001; 'Gompertz' in Ian Rickson's production of Kevin Elyot's Mouth to Mouth at the Royal Court Theatre in 2001; 'John Worthing' in Christopher Morahan's revival of Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest at the Haymarket Theatre in 1999; 'Fydor' in Anthony Clark's production of Anton Chekhov's The Wood Demon at the Playhouse Theatre in 1997; and 'Clifford Bradshaw' in Sam Mendes' revival of the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical Cabaret at the Donmar Warehouse in 1993.

"The evening's dazzling quirkiness and sheer invention keep you glued. Jim Broadbent appears as the chief of police who suspects some nasty short stories may have inspired copycat child killings... At its best, The Pillowman is like watching folk stories by the Brothers Grimm in a cop-show format. But it's Martin McDonagh's nerve as a writer of the blackest, most macabre comedy, which is so awesome. The acting is of the highest order. Broadbent is a joy as the genial good cop, Nigel Lindsay the terrifying bad cop with the electrodes. Adam Godley as the simpleton brother is just fabulous, while David Tennant is the story-obsessed writer who'll do anything to save his work but not his bacon. Challenging, funny and dead gothic, it's a supremely upsetting play that manages to make you laugh and take offence at the same time." The Daily Express

"The great Jim Broadbent plays cruel, corrupt detective Tupolski in a totalitarian state. He provided moments of humour in the darkest stage production I have seen. Holes in the wall appeared to provide snapshots of scenes featuring parents treating one son to love while torturing the other - as an experiment. On discovering their crimes, adored son Katurian (David Tennant) suffocates them with pillows. While he develops into a gifted, if twisted, writer, his brother Michael turns into a retarded psychopath by the torments of his sickening past... Tennant is brilliant as the clever brother who tries desperately to cover up his simpleton sibling's atrocities. Nigel Lindsay is superb as Broadbent's sidekick Ariel." The Daily Mirror

"This piece comes over like a cross between Kafka and the Brothers Grimm, with a sprinkling of Harold Pinter for added seasoning... It has to be admitted that all this packs a fair old theatrical wallop, and John Crowley's production neatly juggles sudden tableaux of Tussaud horrors with the gallows humour of McDonagh's dialogue. But even in its limited ambition to make our flesh creep, the piece doesn't fully succeed... Still, there are strong performances. David Tennant superbly captures the feverish. self-absorption of the writer, while Adam Godley comes over like a cross between Frank Spencer and Fred West as his brother. Jim Broadbent and Nigel Lindsay also make a terrific double act as the cops, every bit as sinister and comic as they should be... Having lured [Broadbent] back to the stage, it is sad to see the NT employing him in such meretricious tosh as this." The Daily Telegraph

The Pillowman in London at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre previewed from 7 November 2003, opened on 13 November 2003, and closed on 17 April 2004 (in repertory)