facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11


First Published 31 July 2015, Last Updated 31 July 2015

What’s it all about?

A Greek god – Dionysus – who acts like a stroppy toddler: ‘You’re not paying me enough attention! I’m going to do something naughty!’ Except, instead of drawing on the walls or smearing toothpaste around the bathroom, he drives the female population of Thebes mad and wreaks a horrendous revenge on its king, Pentheus.

The more philosophical answer to your question? Chaos vs order, male vs female, expression vs repression.

Who’s in it?

Ben Whishaw and Bertie Carvel give powerhouse performances in multiple roles. I’m not sure there are enough superlatives to describe the way they toy with self-indulgent extravagance like a Greek god with a city’s people, before casually letting it go.

Bond star Whishaw is all effeminate flicks and perfect posture as the spawn of Zeus in human form before transforming into the embodiment of aging wisdom as Tiresias and back to a more bestial, vengeful supernatural being for the finale.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’s Carvel is the picture of political poise and self-repression as a Pentheus desperate to prove his masculine command, and a whirl of uncontrolled fervour and passion as Pentheus’ dervish of a mother.

What should I look out for?

Every scene has a flourish, whether it be unforgettable moments from Whishaw, Carvel and fellow multi-character actor Kevin Harvey, or the often discordant, unnerving presence of the 10-woman chorus of Bakkhai, whose collective performances are as memorable as the males’ individual antics.

In a nutshell?

Ben Whishaw and Bertie Carvel give near god-like performances in this startling and memorable tale of supernatural revenge.

What’s being said on Twitter?


To see this content you’ll need to allow us to set some additional cookies!

Update your cookie preferences here and enable ‘social and advertising cookies’


To see this content you’ll need to allow us to set some additional cookies!

Update your cookie preferences here and enable ‘social and advertising cookies’

Will I like it?

For me, this is a must see. Whishaw and Carvel being given the chance to play big characters opposite each other is a rare theatrical treat.

If you’re not a fan of theatrical extravagance, James Macdonald’s production might not be ideal, but if you embrace the bonkers, it’s a gift from the gods; a good gift, not one that will turn you into an orgiastic lunatic that would rip your offspring limb from limb…

Bakkhai plays at the Almeida Theatre until 19 September. You can book tickets through the theatre’s website.


Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.