The Upstart Crow opened at the Gielgud Theatre in February 2020 to an array of glowing reviews and sold out performances. The Daily Telegraph described the show as “just the hey nonny-nonny nonsense the doctor ordered with much to crow about.” Then Covid hit and theatres were forced to close for the first lockdown.
Now, one plague and an Olivier Award nomination later, this all-new comedy is back, starring David Mitchell who will resume his West End debut in Ben Elton’s stage adaptation of the critically acclaimed BBC TV sitcom, Upstart Crow. Rejoining Mitchell on stage will be Gemma Whelan (DI Ray, Game of Thrones, Gentleman Jack) as the sweet and fragrant Kate, along with a troupe of players to be announced.
Directed by Sean Foley, The Upstart Crow will open at the Apollo Theatre on 23 September for a limited 10 week run and see Mitchell once more don the bald wig and bardish coddling pouch in his iconic characterisation of Will Shakespeare.
David Mitchell says: “A whole pandemic later, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to continue my West End debut as history’s most famous balding dramatist and escape back to 1605 through the amazing comic imagination of Ben Elton. We aim to bring Shakespearean London back to life in every way apart from the smell.”
Gemma Whelan says: “I’m so delighted to be back on stage alongside David and working with Ben Elton again. Amongst the pure unadulterated silliness of 1605, we get to tackle real, modern day issues in a brilliant show full of twists, turns, surprises and a dancing animal!”
Ben Elton says: “The Bard is back! The theatres were closed due to plague in Shakespeare’s day just as they have been in our own, so I couldn’t be prouder and happier that The Upstart Crow is once more bringing the laughter to the West End.”
‘Tis 1605 and England’s greatest playwright is in trouble. Will Shakespeare has produced just two plays; Measure for Measure, which according to King James was incomprehensible bollingbrokes by any measure, and All’s Well That End’s Well which didn’t even end well. Will desperately needs to maketh a brilliant new play to bolster his reputation and avoid being cast aside by King and country. But Will’s personal life is encountering more dramatic twists and turns than any theatrical story he can conjure. How the futtock can a Bard be expected to find a plot for a play whilst his daughters run amok and his house is used as refuge for any old waif and stray. As time runs out, can Will hold on to his dream of being recognised now and for all time, as indisputably the greatest writer that ever lived, or will family woes thwart Will’s chances of producing his masterwork?
Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 7EZ
First preview: 23 September
Final show: 3 December
Evening Performances: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Matinees: Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm