The Philanthropist tickets
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The Philanthropist Tickets

Trafalgar Theatre, London2.930 reviews
“Intellectually stimulating, touchingly sympathetic and gloriously, gloriously funny” - Sunday Times

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Out in the ‘real world’ the Prime Minister and his cabinet have been assassinated and England’s most treasured writers are being murdered one by one! Back in the cosy bubble of university life, a bachelor don anguishes over sex, marriage, anagrams, and the meaning of life.  Did someone suggest academics were ‘out of touch’?

CHRISTOPHER HAMPTON’S most celebrated hit play returns to the West End.  SIMON CALLOW’s new production stars:  MATT BERRY (The IT CrowdToast of London), SIMON BIRD (The Inbetweeners, Friday Night Dinner), LILY COLE (Ab Fab The Movie), CHARLOTTE RITCHIE (Call the Midwife ) and TOM ROSENTHAL (Friday Night Dinner).


★★★★ 'Simon Bird and Lily Cole are a treat in this intellectually witty, emotionally acute tragi-comedy' Daily Telegraph

'Simon Bird is hilarious as he leads a stellar comic cast' Radio Times

'Biting satire' The Week

'A smart college comedy - I love the play' The Guardian

'Christopher Hampton’s wickedly funny tale of the foibles of life in a university town' Time Out

Christopher Hampton’s most celebrated play has been delighting audiences and since its premiere at the Royal Court in 1970. A biting ‘bourgeois comedy’ and a fiendishly clever inversion of Moliere’s ‘The Misanthrope’, Simon Callow’s new production boasts some of today’s most exciting young stage and screen actors. His other works for the stage include Les Liaisons Dangereuses (recently revived to great acclaim) and Treats. He has also recently received significant acclaim for his translations of the award-winning smash hit The Father (“translated with venomous flare”) as well as The Mother and The Truth. The Old Vic has also just presented a major re-staging of his translation of Art. Among Christopher’s many screen adaptations are Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Atonement for which he received an Oscar® and an Oscar® nomination respectively.

Simon Callow has directed over thirty shows, including the multi award-winning musical Carmen Jones, the West End and Broadway productions of Shirley Valentine and the award-winning Single Spies by Alan Bennett at the National Theatre and in the West End.


Additional Information

Running time

Just over 2 hours including interval. Monday to Saturday 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday 2.30pm

Performance dates

3 April to 22 July 2017

Venue Information

Trafalgar Theatre14 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2DY

Group Pricing

Special pricing for groups of 10 or moreCheck our group prices and save!

Customer Reviews

30 reviews2.9

Christina Proudlock22nd July

Excellent acting, very clever, well observed play

Janet21st July

Sorry but this play just didn't do it for me or my partner so we left at e interval. The story line was muddled and several of the actors mumbled their way through their parts. There were moments of humour but also unnecessary vulgarity and long speeches of boring monologue. With Simon Callow directing I had high hopes but was very disappointed.

Mark Annear21st July

I did not enjoy this production at all. Slow, unfunny and tiresom.

Olivia Penn14th July

Great cast and fast-paced - go and see it!

Alison Du Cane13th July

A very funny, clever and entertaining show. The script works as well today as it did nearly 50 years ago. Most of the acting was excellent though I was not completely convinced by Lily Cole's portrayal of Araminta. Particularly enjoyed the performances by Simon Bird and Charlotte Ritchie. Some of the moving around in the dinner party scene seemed a bit artificial. The set is lovely. Overall a very enjoyable evening despite the nightmare of fighting through Formula 1 crowds to reach the theatre. I was lucky enough to arrive before the start-time but I appreciated the theatre delaying curtain-up by nearly 15 minutes to allow frantic late-comers to get in.

Steve Swindon13th July

This is a very entertaining play with excellent performances. For me the stand out performance was Tom Rosenthal as the witty and articulate Donald. Simon Bird played basically the same character as he did in Inbetweeners - no bad thing but I am sure he is capable of much more. The play had some uneven pacing but overall was a very funny, at times excruciating, tour de force. Highly recommended!

Dorothy Kemper11th July

Not only was the production painfully flat, the seats were the most uncomfortable we have ever experienced. Have never commented before, in 50 years of attending theatre. We left at the interval, disappointed and sore. Thanks for asking!

Bruce Ramell11th July

Comfortable seats, good sets and excellent acting, but we found the play itself vacuous and the humour pretty feeble.

Edward Broadhurst9th July

I liked it. The acting was great, set was lovely, it was very engaging. Play itself a bit strange. Light hearted, sometimes a bit dark. Thought the actors did what they could with it. I'd have given the actors 5 stars.

David3rd July

Great evening. First visit to Westminster studios: lovely venue and production was beautifully staged. Good performances in a funny and thought-provoking piece. Still felt very relevant 40 years on.

Jennifer Johnston27th June

I booked this play as a special occasion to celebrate my husband's big birthday and had my two twenty something boys with me. I can only say that it was a disappointment. it simply did not work as a comedy even satirically and I found it boring . I could not recommend it as entertaining and to be honest it was a waste of money

Raffaele Laino27th June

Brilliant show, very funny and very entertaining