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Live Theatre’s The Red Lion roars on its London’s West End run

Live Theatre and Trish Wadley present
The Red Lion
by Patrick Marber
Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY
Until Saturday 2 December 2017

Written by Patrick Marber
Directed by Max Roberts
Designed by Patrick Connellan
Starring Stephen Tompkinson, John Bowler and Dean Bone

Live Theatre’s successful football drama The Red Lion, starring actors Stephen Tompkinson, John Bowler, and Dean Bone is gathering critical acclaim with multiple five and fours star press reviews on its run in London’s West End.

The Red Lion, written by Oscar nominated writer Patrick Marber and directed by Live Theatre’s Artistic Director Max Roberts, is playing at Trafalgar Studios, in London’s West End until Saturday 2 December 2017, following its sell-out run at Live Theatre earlier this year.

Set in the dressing room of a semi-professional football club in the North East, The Red Lion is shows behind the scenes drama in a Northern league football club between coach, manager and a young player. Its a powerful, funny and touching locker room drama that reaches beyond the beautiful game, exploring contrasting ideas about loyalty, ambition and what it takes to win, from the perspectives of three different generations.

The production is brought to life by Stephen Tompkinson (Spamalot, West End; DCI Banks; Drop the Dead Donkey), John Bowler (It Just Stopped, The Orange Tree; Operation Elvis, RSC/Almeida; DCI Banks) and Dean Bone, winner of The Journal Culture award for Newcomer of the year 2017 (The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes, Live Theatre; The Savage, Live Theatre; Vera, ITV) who all reprise their roles.

Press quotes include:

‘The Red Lion doesn't put a foot wrong. Perfectly pitched, premier league turns from its cast of three and a faultless script from Patrick Marber. A winner.' ★★★★★ Stage Review

'Patrick Marber's play set in the world of non-league football is a gritty, funny, heartbreaking gem...premier league performances' ★★★★★ Radio Times

'a gritty and truthful depiction of not just football, but of British culture and the complicated relationships between men in our society' ★★★★★ Broadway World

'Beautiful look at tainted game is a title contender... Football is not a matter of life and death – it’s more important than that’, said Bill Shankly memorably and Marber’s play is the perfect embodiment of that sentiment.' ★★★★ London Evening Standard

'It’s a hard-hitting and humorous glimpse into how three men are united not only by their love of football, but also by their need for change. It’s a highlight of Marber’s work this year, and director Max Roberts shoots and scores.' ★★★★ London Theatre

'beautifully fluent, pointed and often's much more than a play about football; it aspires to describe the difficulties of life itself' ★★★★ What's On Stage

Jim Beirne, Chief Executive, Live Theatre said

“It is great to see another Live Theatre play successfully transferring to a London stage, and I am delighted that The Red Lion has so many four and five star reviews for its current run at Trafalgar Studios, London. Credit must go to Patrick Marber for a great script, the wonderful actors, the design and producing team, all led by Max Roberts, Live Theatre’s Emeritus Director.”

Max Roberts, also Artistic Director of Live Theatre, said:

“I love this play. I love its world and I find its driving narrative compelling, exhilarating and quintessentially theatrical. So I was absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to take it to London, working with Trish Wadley, and the same talented cast of Stephen Tompkinson, John Bowler and Dean Bone who brought our production so vividly to life and compellingly represent the characters emotional complexity.”

Through Marber’s own personal experiences with non-league football, The Red Lion goes far beyond the pitch to look at hope, obsessions and the desperation of humanity to be a part of something. It is a 2 piece that resonates in contemporary society - the two older characters are conflicted representatives of a pre and post 1980s, one possessing a sensibility formulated by a before-Thatcher England, the other by its aftermath. In the middle a youngster is dealing with that fall out.

Stephen Tompkinson, actor, said:

"I am delighted to be back working with Max Roberts and Live Theatre in Patrick Marber's brilliant play The Red Lion on its London transfer.”

John Bowler, actor, said:

“I have always been a fan of Live Theatre and the work Max has created over the years so to reprise the role of Yates opposite the wonderful Stephen Tompkinson and Dean Bone in this brilliant play by Patrick Marber proved irresistible!”

Dean Bone added:

"To work again with two excellent, experienced professional actors such as Stephen Tompkinson and John Bowler, in a play that has transferred from Newcastle to London is something any young actor would jump at the chance at!”

Patrick Marber was a writer and performer on The Day Today and Knowing Me, Knowing You… with Alan Partridge. His plays include Dealer’s Choice, winner of the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy and Closer, both at the National Theatre. Closer was adapted by Patrick into a film, which starred actors Julia Roberts, Jude Law and Natalie Portman. Patrick was also Oscar nominated in 2006 for his film adaptation of Zoe Heller’s novel Notes on a Scandal which starred Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. His other plays include After Miss Julie, Don Juan in Soho and Three Days in the Country.

The play’s writer Patrick Marber will take part in a Post Show Discussion, after the performance at 7.45pm on Friday 17 November. Retired English footballer and sports broadcaster Gary Lineker OBE will take part in an exciting post-show panel after the 7.45pm performance on Monday 20 November, discussing the football themes of Patrick Marber’s The Red Lion.  Both talks are free for ticket holders that evening.

Gary Lineker said:

I look forward to seeing this new version of The Red Lion at Trafalgar Studios. It’s a premier league play about non-league football and you can join the cast and me for a post-show discussion on the play and the importance of these leagues in the wider game.”

The Red Lion is suitable for ages 16+ and is at Trafalgar Studios, Whitehall, London from until Saturday 2 December 2017.  Tickets priced from £19.50 - £39.50 are available from the Trafalgar Studios Box Office on 0844 871 7632.

Book Tickets
  • Arts Council England
  • Community Foundation
  • European Regional Development Fund


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