‘Bleak Expectations’ to open in the West End

The Charles Dickens parody comedy play will run at the Criterion Theatre this summer, with guest stars including Stephen Fry, Jack Dee, and Jo Brand.

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

The award-winning Radio 4 comedy, Bleak Expectations, will be adapted into a West End play.Bleak Expectations will begin previews at the Criterion Theatre on 3 May, with an opening night on 18 May, and performances to 3 September.

Bleak Expectations follows Philip "Pip" Bin, inventor of the bin, on a variety of exploits. Press material states: “Will evil be vanquished by virtue? Can love triumph over hate? Escape with this joyfully anarchic comedy featuring barbarous boarding schools, contemptible conspiracies, roaring romances, devilish disguises, and definitely, probably, hopefully, a happy ending!”

Each week, a guest star will play the role of Sir Philip “Pip” Bin. A full schedule of dates for these appearances will be released at a later date. Further casting will be revealed at a later date.

The Bleak Expectations schedule is as follows:

3- 7 May: Nina Wadia
9-14 May: Dermot O’Leary
16-21 May: Sally Philips
30 May - 4 June: Sue Perkins
6-11 June: Julian Clary
13-18 June: Adjoa Andoh
27 June - 2 July: Lee Mack
4-9 July: Stephen Mangan
11-16 July: Jo Brand
18-23 July: Tom Allen
25-30 July: Jack Dee
1-6 August: Alexander Armstrong
8-13 August: Stephen Fry
15-20 August: Ben Miller
29 August - 3 September: Nish Kumar

Caroline Leslie directs Mark Evans’s play, with design by Katie Lias, lighting design by Andrew Exeter, and sound design by Ella Wahlström.

What is Bleak Expectations?

Bleak Expectations is a BBC Radio 4 comedy series that spoofs Charles Dickens play, along with adventure, science fiction and costume dramas. The comedy show ran for five series from 2007 - 2012. The original radio cast featured Joanna Page, Sophie Thompson, Tom Hollander.

Bleak Expectations is at the Criterion Theatre.

Photo credit: Bleak Expectations (Photo courtesy of production)

Originally published on

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