Absolute Hell at National Theatre

National Theatre announces Absolute Hell casting

By Robin Johnson, Published January 23, 2018

The National Theatre has announced exciting ensemble casting for its upcoming production of Blitz-set drama Absolute Hell, directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins.

The starry cast includes the likes of Olivier and Tony Award nominee Kate Fleetwood (London Road, NT) and Jonathan Singer (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, West End), as well as Esh Alladi, Joanna David, Charles Edwards, Patricia England, Jenny Galloway, Aaron Heffernan, Lloyd Hutchinson, Martins Imhangbe, Stephanie Jacob, Prasanna Puwanarajah, Anita Reynolds, John Sackville, Liza Sadovy, Eileen Walsh and Danny Webb. Further casting is to be announced.

Upon its first performance in 1952, Rodney Ackland’s extraordinarily provocative play Absolute Hell was condemned as ‘a libel on the British people’. Now it emerges as an intoxicating plunge into post-war Soho; full of despair and longing.

Kate Fleetwood in Bug (Photo: Simon Annand)

Kate Fleetwood in Bug (Photo: Simon Annand)

Jonathan Slinger as Willy Wonka in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (Photo: Matt Crockett)

Jonathan Slinger as Willy Wonka in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (Photo: Matt Crockett)

Absolute Hell takes place in bomb-blasted London, inside a Soho den in the hangover from World War II, where members drink into the darkness, night after night. Lying, fighting and seducing, these lost souls and bruised lovers struggle from the rubble of war towards an unknown future. Joe Hill-Gibbins returns to the NT to direct a large ensemble in this new production.

Absolute Hell was first performed at the National Theatre in the Lyttelton Theatre in 1995, directed by Anthony Page. The cast included Judi Dench as Christine Foskett, who won an Olivier Award for Best Actress for her performance the following year.

This new production begins previews on 18 April, with press night on 25 April, booking until 23 May with additional performances to be announced.