A sleazy 1950s nightclub in Soho. Liquor flowing, smoke blowing, punches throwing? That’ll be a Jacobean romp from the Royal Shakespeare Company then…
As unlikely as it sounds, this is the setting for Thomas Middleton’s A Mad World My Masters; not originally, of course, but in the new version created by acclaimed director Sean Foley when the RSC production debuted in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2013.
The comedy enjoyed such star-laden success at the RSC’s home, that it hit the road and has finally found its way to London, running at the Barbican from April.
You only have to take a look swift look at the cast of characters to get an idea of what to expect. This is a rib-tickler that boasts Sir Bounteous Peersucker, Mr Penitent Brothel and Mr and Mrs Littledick amongst its list of rogues, lords and ladies of the night.
Set in 1956, as the class system breaks down, the alleyways of Soho are alive with all types and flavours of person. Amid the grime and the glamour, Sir Richard Follywit is out to get whatever he can steal. The easiest mark, his disapproving uncle. Meanwhile, Mr Brothel has his sights set on a married woman and must concoct a plan to free her. As you might expect, there’s all manner of twists, turns, confusion, disguise and chortle-inducing ridiculousness before this all gets resolved.
But don’t take my word for it, if you fancy a taste of what it’s all about watch the show’s fantastic trailer.