By Carl Grose
Directed by Tom Morris
‘Defies theatrical convention by keeping its hand on its heart and its tongue in its cheek’
‘Blackly comic brilliance’
‘Weird and wonderful, a dark delight’
‘An extraordinary amalgam of fairytale, puppetry, romantic drama and black comedy'’
‘The best puppetry since War Horse’
Following its hugely successful premiere at Bristol Old Vic where it received nightly standing ovations, the critically acclaimed The Grinning Man transfers to the West End for a limited season only.
From Tony Award-winning director Tom Morris (War Horse) and Kneehigh writer Carl Grose, The Grinning Man is a magical reimagining of the classic novel by Victor Hugo (Les Misrables).
A strange new act has arrived at the fairground. Who is Grinpayne and how did he get his hideous smile? Paraded as a freak, then celebrated as a star, only the love of a sightless girl can reveal his terrible secret.
Featuring ‘an outstanding score’ (Sunday Times) by Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler, and set in a fantastical world brought to life with the visually stunning puppetry of Gyre & Gimble, the original War Horse puppeteers, and designer Jon Bausor (Bat Out of Hell).
Sean Kingsley and Ewan Black, who previously co-starred in the award-winning Bristol Old Vic production of the musical, have been confirmed to play Ursus and Trelaw in the West End premiere. Sanne den Besten, new to the cast, will play Dea.
Louis Maskell, who was recently nominated for Best Performance in a Musical for his role in the Bristol production, will lead the cast in the title role of Grinpayne, the shows’s disfigured hero. Julian Bleach plays the role of the deliciously corrupt court clown Barkilphedro.
Joining the cast are Mark Anderson (Book of Mormon), Julie Atherton (Avenue Q), Jim Kitson (Much Ado About Nothing), Sophia Mackay (The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds her Chameleon Skin) and Amanda Wilkin (Hamlet). Completing the company are James Alexander-Taylor, Christina Bloom, Jonathan Cobb, Leo Elso, Claire-Marie Hall, and Loren O’Dair.