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The Knight of the Burning Pestle - Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE KNIGHT of the Burning Pestle, by Francis Beaumont, runs at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe from February 26 (previews from February 20) to March 30, 2014.

Directed by Adele Thomas and starring Pauline McLynn as the Citizen’s Wife, Phil Daniels as the Citizen and Matthew Needham as Rafe, the production promises to be a fresh and hilarious take on a Jacobean satire that is radically modern in conception and construction.

Opening as a bourgeois comedy of manners, The Knight of the Burning Pestle quickly disintegrates into a surreal, genre-defying caper when two members of the ‘audience’ invade the stage, express their dissatisfaction with the evening’s entertainment and start to rework the play to suit their tastes. The result is a winning combination of salty prose, charming songs and metatheatrical mayhem.

Pauline McLynn is best-known for her role as Mrs Doyle in the long-running comedy TV series Father Ted. Her other screen credits include Shameless, Jam & Jerusalem and Pramface (TV); Iris and Angela’s Ashes (film). Her stage credits include Happy Days (Sheffield Crucible), Greener (Gaiety Theatre Dublin) and Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre).

Phil Daniels first came to fame in the cult film Quadrophenia. He returns to the Globe following his ‘vigorous and earthy’ turn in 2011’s The God of Soho. His other recent stage credits include This House (National Theatre) and The Beggar’s Opera (Regents Park Open Air Theatre). He was also the voice of the Blur single Parklife and appeared in the song’s music video.

Matthew Needham’s previous theatre credits include Titus Andronicus and Candide (Royal Shakespeare Company), Max Stafford-Clark’s production of Our Country’s Good (for Out of Joint) and Brittanicus (Wilton’s Music Hall), for which he was nominated for the Ian Charleson Award.

Adele Thomas worked for two years as a Project Associate on Michael Sheen’s The Passion, a large-scale theatre piece produced by National Theatre Wales that ran for 72 hours and involved over 2,000 performers and participants. She was Assistant Director to Dominic Dromgoole on Gabriel (Shakespeare’s Globe) and to Dominic Cooke on In the Republic of Happiness (Royal Court Theatre).

The cast also includes Giles Cooper, John Dougall, Denise Gough (Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms, Lyric Theatre) as Mistress Merrythought, Samuel Hargreaves, Dennis Herdman, Sarah MacRae, Dean Nolan, Brendan O’Hea, Paul Rider, Dickon Tyrrell and Alex Waldmann (All’s Well That Ends Well, As You Like It, Hamlet, King John, RSC, Michael Grandage’s Twelfth Night and Hamlet) as Jasper.

Tickets: £10 – £60 – available from the box office on +44 (0) 20 7401 9919 or online at

Also at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse: Eileen Atkins performs Shakespeare’s greatest female characters by candlelight on January 12, 2014, and The Duchess of Malfi, starring Gemma Arterton, runs from January 15 (previews from January 9) to February 16, 2014.