Full casting and creative team have been announced for the world premiere of BLEAK EXPECTATIONS, a new stage adaptation of the award-winning hit BBC Radio 4 comedy written by Mark Evans and directed by Caroline Leslie (whose previous Watermill credits include Trial by Laughter, The Wipers Times, A Bunch of Amateurs, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Radio Times). Bleak Expectations will open at the Watermill from Friday 27 May and play until Saturday 2 July, in association with Anthology Theatre Productionsand David Wolstencroft (creator of BBC One Drama Spooks).

Bleak Expectations is the story that Charles Dickens might have written after drinking too much gin. And, crucially, had lived for another 152 years. Two-time winner of the Best Radio Sitcom award and winner of a Sony Award, Bleak Expectations has captivated audiences and critics alike since its 2007 radio debut.

Hold on tight for a chaotic caper through Dickensian London with young Pip Bin: tragic half orphan, hopeless romantic and would-be-hero.

Follow Pip’s remarkable adventures with sisters Pippa and Poppy and best friend Harry Biscuit as they attempt to escape the scheming clutches of Mr Gently Benevolent, defeat the irrepressible Hardthrasher siblings and avert imminent disaster at every turn. Will evil be vanquished by virtue?

Can love triumph over hate? Well, can it? Immerse yourself in this joyfully anarchic comedy featuring hideous boarding schools, dastardly plans, devilish disguises, pulse-quickening romances, heart-rending death scenes, and definitely a happy ending.

Rose Basista (Eleanor Rising – BBC Audio Drama,Tom’s Midnight Garden – Theatre by the Lake) will play ‘Pippa Bin’, Colm Gleeson (This Be The Verse – Hen & Chickens Theatre, The Wife of Michael Cleary Songbook – Royal Court Liverpool) will play ‘Thomas Bin / Bakewell Havertwitch / Broadly Fecund’, J.J. Henry (Rapunzel – The Theatre Chipping Norton, Mother Courage and her Children– Blackeyed Theatre) will play ‘Harry Biscuit / Mr Parsimonious’, Dom Hodson (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical – Aldwych, West End, War Horse – New London, West End) will play ‘Pip Bin’. Simon Kane (The Busker’s Opera ­-Park Theatre, The Hound of the Baskervilles – Bolton Octagon) will play ‘Gently Benevolent’, Alicia McKenzie (Small Island – National Theatre, The Crucible – Pitlochry Festival) will play ‘Agnes Bin / Flora Dies-Early’,Nicholas Murchie (Trial by Laughter ­– The Watermill & Tour, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside – Almeida & Tour)) will play ‘Sir Philip Bin’, Caitlin Scott (2021 graduate, professional debut) will play ‘Poppy Bin / Ripely Fecund’ and Dan Tetsell (Brian in BBC2’s Lab Rats, Marion in BBC3’s Mongrels) will play ‘The Hardthrashers’.

Directed by Caroline Leslie with design by Kate Lias, BLEAK EXPECTATIONS is a stage adaptation of the hit BBC Radio 4 comedy written by Mark Evans with lighting by Andrew Exeter, sound by Yvonne Gilbert, assistant direction and fight direction by Joseph Reed, movement direction by Heriberto Montalban and composition by Tom Pigott-Smith. The Stage Management team consists of Natalia Kheldouni (DSM), Alastair Day (ASM), Alice Reddick (ASM Placement) with audio description by Charles Wiltshire.


VENUE: The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 8AE

BOX OFFICE: 01635 46044

Running from 27th May – 2nd July

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