Mel Brooks’ musical comedy Young Frankenstein plays at the Garrick Theatre, starring Hadley Fraser, Lesley Joseph and Summer Strallen.
Opening in 1889, The Garrick Theatre has hosted a huge variety of productions over the years and is renowned for housing comedies and melodramas. It was originally financed by playwright W. S. Gilbert and named after David Garrick, one of the most influential Shakespearean actors. The Garrick Theatre was designed by Walter Emden alongside consultant C.J Phillips who had the challenge of building the theatre over an underground river. The original Gallery level which gave the theatre a capacity of 800 is closed and the theatre now seats 732 people. A proposed redevelopment of Covent Garden in 1968 put the future of the Garrick in jeopardy, but a campaign by Equity, the Musician’s Union and various theatre owners secured its future. In 1986 the theatre was acquired by the Stoll Moss Group and the gold leaf auditorium was restored and in 1997 the front of the theatre was renovated. The Garrick is a Grade II listed building.
In 2000, the Garrick became a Really Useful Theatre after Andrew Lloyd Webber bought Stoll Moss Theatres Ltd. Nimax Theatres Ltd purchased the Garrick in 2005, and the theatre has since become one of the five playhouses owned by Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer, including the Apollo, Duchess, Lyric and Vaudeville theatres.
The Garrick Theatre opened on April 24th 1889 with a play by Arthur Wing Pinero, The Profligate and has since become associated with comedies and comedy-dramas. Sydney Grundy’s successful French comedy A Pair of Spectacles opened in 1890, after which came The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith in 1895, starring Mrs Patrick Campbell. Subsequent productions included J. M Barrie’s The Wedding Guest and Rutland Barrington’s Water Babies. In 1921, Basil Rathbone starred in The Edge o’Beyond. Further productions have included No Sex Please We’re British, which subsequently transferred to the Duchess Theatre in August 1986. In 1995, the Royal National Theatre’s award-winning production of An Inspector Calls opened after successful seasons at the Lyttelton, Olivier and Aldwych theatres.
Most recent productions have included Pygmalion in 2011, starring Rupert Everett and Kara Tointon, followed by Chicago, which transferred from the Cambridge Theatre and concluded its fifteen-year run at the Garrick in 2012. Other notable productions have included the 2012 premiere of the musical Loserville, as well as Rock of Ages and Twelve Angry Men starring Martin Shaw. After a successful run at the Young Vic, The Scottsboro Boys transferred to the Garrick for a strictly limited season. Following this, The Beatle’s tribute musical Let it Be ran at the Garrick during 2015. Judi Dench starred in The Winter’s Tale, which received wide critical acclaim. Zoe Wanamaker wowed audiences in Terrence Rattigan’s stunning monologue All on her Own, which ran simultaneously with Harlequinade. Adrian Lester starred as the first black actor, Ira Alridge, in Red Velvet, which closed on February 27th. Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon revived their Lyric Belfast production of The Painkiller as part of the Branagh Season at the Garrick, earning mixed reviews and closing April 30th 2016. Richard Madden, Lily James, Meera Syal and Derek Jacobi starred in a 1950’s Vienna-set version of Romeo and Juliet. During the final three weeks of the run, Richard Madden pulled out due to injury and was replaced by Freddie Fox. Kenneth Branagh rounded off his Season at the Garrick by starring in John Osborne’s The Entertainer. Branagh’s residency at the Garrick Theatre sold over 2.5 million tickets and was also awarded the Lebedev Award at the Evening Standard Awards.
2017 kicked off with the return of James Graham’s political drama This House, starring Phil Daniels, followed by a new production of Moliere’s classic comedy The Miser, starring Griff Rhys Jones, Lee Mack and Mathew Horne. Summer 2017 sees a jam-packed season, with comedy act Tape Face coming to the Garrick Theatre, followed by David Walliams’ children’s tale Gangsta Granny and Birmingham Stage Company’s Horrible Histories – More Best of Barmy Britain. 2017 rounds off with the European premiere of Mel Brooks’ musical comedy Young Frankenstein, based on the 1974 cult film starring Gene Wilder.
- Bars: Bars are available on all levels of the theatre.
- Toilets: Men’s and women’s toilets are on all levels of the theatre. A fully adapted toilet is level with the Dress Circle seating.
- Access: Access spaces are located in the Dress Circle. Call the access line to book.
- Air Conditioning: Yes, the theatre is air conditioned.
- Booster Seats: A small supply of booster cushions are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Cloakroom: A cloakroom is available at this venue.