The Alchemist RSC - Barbican

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Venue Information

Silk Street

Seating Plan


Review Summary
Average Rating: 1 out of 5 stars based on 1 review(s)


Latest Review: "Love Shakespeare, but why were his (near) contemporaries so poor? Thought this was meant to be on..."

The Royal Shakespeare Company turns its attention to Ben Johnson in September 2016 as they stage his classic play The Alchemist at the Barbican-theatre.aspx">Barbican Theatre.

Polly Findlay directs the production, having recently presented As You Like It at the National Theatre in 2015, and as such she tackles a story that deals with plague, conmen and other criminal activities in 17th century Britain.

A classic satire, Johnson’s play focuses on Jeremy, a butler of a townhouse whose master, Lovewit, has run away following the arrival of the plague in the capital. Now that Jeremy has the house to himself he responds by turning to his conmen friends to use the house as a base for their criminal operations.

The play was first staged in Oxford in 1610 and has survived the test of time (despite the plague being a very real problem for the producers of the time) so that it now appears in London over 400 years later. Combining hilarious writing with a glimpse of a bygone era, it is a must-see show at the Barbican Theatre this year.

This is in-part demonstrated by the recruitment of Polly Findlay to helm the production. The director was behind both As You Like It at the Olivier National Theatre and The Merchant of Venice at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 2015 and they were the latest in a long line of successful shows. Her credits also include Derren Brown: Svengali (earning her an Olivier Award in 2012), Treasure Island at the National Theatre in 2015 and The Country Wife at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, amongst many others.

The Alchemist appears at the Barbican Theatre from Friday 2nd September 2016.

Show Information
Booking From: Saturday, 1st October 2016
Booking Until: Saturday, 1st October 2016
Show Status: production_closed
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