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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

The Pillowman

First of all, before you leave the house look at the ticket. What time does the show start? 2:30 or 3:00 and get there on time. Do not look at the ticket for the first time at 2:29 while you are standing at the bar at the Royal Festival Hall and realize that it starts at 2:30 and you have to run to the National Theater.

We slipped in just as the curtain was rising on The Pillowman. Again, simple lighting, simple main set, extravagent secondary sets to use during the story telling. The Pillowman is about a writer who is arrested in a totalitarian dictatorship for his part in murdering three children. His severely mentally handicapped brother is as well. As the play unfolds, Katurian is interogated as is his brother Michael. Michael and Katurian are reunited in a cell and the truth comes out about their distant and recent pasts. Woven through everything are Katurian’s short stories–all sharing the common theme of “a young child has a horrible life and then gets fucked up.”

I don’t want to have any spoilers, so I will simply say–if you are in London–GO. If you need a reason to come to London, this is the play to come for. It is very dark and very funny and horrifying and wonderful. The actors were amazing and one was a rather famous English Actor. He was Zeigler in Moulon Rouge. Jim Bransomething.


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.

Martin McDonagh’s previous plays include The Cripple of Inishmaan which premiered at the National and most recently, The Lieutenant of Inishmore. Jim Broadbent and Nigel Lindsay return to the NT.

World Premiere

Please note: Contains scenes and language that may offend. Not suitable for children.

Director: John Crowley Designer: Scott Pask Lighting Designer: Hugh Vanstone Sound Designer: Paul Arditti

Cast: Tupolski : Jim Broadbent Boy : James Daley Michal : Adam Godley Girl : Jennifer Higham Ariel : Nigel Lindsay Mother : Victoria Pembroke Father : Mike Sherman Katurian : David Tennant

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