The Painkiller


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‘laughs from start to finish’



‘gives the West End a perfect shot in the arm’



‘Branagh is a dexterous expert at physical comedy’

Frank Verber’s classic French farce The Painkiller is the third production to feature as part of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season of unmissable theatre at London’s Garrick Theatre. Adapted and directed by Sean FoleyThe Painkiller will star Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon and opens in March 2016. After playing to wide critical acclaim at the Lyric Theatre Belfast in 2011, the pair reprise their roles as Ralph and Dudley.

Set in a Belfast hotel with two guests who are staying in adjoining rooms, The Painkiller is a dark comical farce that will enthral audiences. Brydon plays depressed Welsh photographer Dudley, a character who is planning on committing suicide after being left by his wife. Ralph, played by Branagh, is a sharply-dressed hitman who has target trained on a witness due to testify in the courthouse across the street. When Dudley’s first suicide attempt goes wrong, Ralph comes to his aid and an unlikely partnership is formed, causing them to have a very different evening than they had planned.

A classic tale of slapstick comedy and mistaken identities, this show promises to be a hilarious run at the Garrick. Olivier Award-winning director Foley will deliver this comic tour-de-force, after receiving an Olivier for his work on the Morecambe and Wise homage The Play What I Wrote.  The Painkiller will play at the Garrick Theatre from March 5th to April 30th2016.

Cast and CreativeThe Painkiller satellite 1

The Painkiller is directed by award-winning actor and director Sean Foley, whose previous work includes the West End comedies The Ladykillers, What the Butler Saw, Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense and The Play What I Wrote, which received the 2002 Olivier Award for Best Comedy. Further creative team includes set and costume designer Alice Power, with sound design by Ben & Max Ringham and lighting design by Tim Mitchell.

Branagh and Brydon will be joined by Claudie Blakley as Michelle, whose credits include appearances in television series’ such as Cranford and Larkrise to Candleford. Her extensive stage work includes Rules for Living at the National Theatre, Chimerica at the Almeida and West End, The Cherry Orchard, Attempts on her Life, Love and Money and Comedy of Errors. Made in Dagenham’s Mark Hadfield features as Vincent, alongside Alex Macqueen (Peaky Blinders, Black Mirror) as Dent. Marcus Fraser makes his professional debut as the Policeman.

Show Lengths and Times

The Painkiller opened at the Garrick Theatre London on March 5th and is set to run until April 30th 2016. Performances are at 7:30pm every day, excluding Sundays, with a matinee on Saturday at 2:30pm.

Show running time is approximately 85mins, without an interval.

Suitable for Children?

The Painkiller contains mild adult themes and language, with references of a sexual nature, and may not be suited to young children. Please note that the Garrick Theatre does not supply booster cushions.



Tickets for The Painkiller at the Garrick Theatre London are now on sale and you can book them above, by using the search form on the right of the page.


Have you seen The Painkiller? If so please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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