Lily Allen & Steve Pemberton to star in West End premiere of ‘The Pillow Man’

Martin McDonagh acclaimed play returns to London, playing in the West End for the first time, in a star-studded production directed by Matthew Dunster. Scheduled to open by the beginning of summer 2023, the piece is a dark humourous observation of freedom of speech and the price we pay for saying our own thought out loud.

Words hurt more than swords. Never before has this phrase been more accurate, for in this world of totalitarian control, freedom of speech has become a privilege and a blurred figment of the past – sounding familiar already? Whatever the case, the thing is that the prospects are not looking good for one Writer, as she’s been questioned by the authorities about the similarities of her short stories… with several brutal child murders… Dark comedy and even gloomier drama join forces in The Pillow Man, the acclaimed play by Martin McDonagh, which is returning to London next season, this time debuting in the city’s major commercial theatre – featuring a star-studded cast.

“I’m thrilled that The Pillowman is finally making its West End premiere”, says McDonagh. “It’s a play that’s always been very close to my heart, in terms of its combination of dark comedy with its exploration of the nature of story-telling itself and the role of the artist in society. With so many personal freedoms under attack by governments and religions around the world I think it’s a perfect time to put this play on”. His previous credits include Olivier Award-winning Hangmen (running successfully both in the West End and on Broadway)as well as Beauty Queen of LeenaneA Skull in ConnemaraThe Lonesome WestThe Lieutenant of InishmoreThe Cripple of InishmaanA Behanding in Spokane and A Very Very Very Dark Matter. 

Directed by Matthew Dunster, the creative team is completed by Set and Costume Designer Anna Fleischle, Lighting Designer isNeil Austin and Sound Designer Ian Dickinson, among others. A theatre and film director as well as a writer, Dunster’s credits add up to over sixty shows, often with major national companies (including RSC, NT, Royal Court, Young Vic, Royal Exchange, Shakespeare’s Globe, The Bridge), apart from working in the West End, Broadway and some other places internationally.

As for the cast, Steve Pemberton (in the role of Tupolski in this production) is a member of The League of Gentlemen with Reece Shearsmith, Mark Gatiss and Jeremy Dyson. He co-wrote and appeared in Psychoville and Inside No. 9 for which he won the BAFTA for Best Male Comedy Performance in 2019.  His other television credits feature titles such as Killing Eve, Good Omens, Worzel Gummidge or Doctor Who, while his stage work includes playing Mr Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer at the National Theatre. Lilly Allen, on her side, Lily Allen made her West End debut in 2:22 – A Ghost Story at the Noel Coward Theatre, while also taking part on the Sky original comedy Dreamland (premiering in 2023) apart from her globally renowned work as a singer and a songwriter. The rest of the cast will be announced soon.

The Pillow Man will start performances at the Duke of York’s Theatre on Saturday 10 June, for a strictly limited 12-week run through to Saturday 2 September 2023. Tickets are available on the following link.

By Guillermo Názara

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